Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds
Ashby's Bath Grounds are the 'Jewel in the Crown' of our historic Market Town.
In the heart of the town's heritage area, the Bath Grounds form part of the Ashby Green Corridor which connects the south of the town to Ashby Castle, creating its unique 'Countryside in the Town Feel'.
Unfortunately we have had to postpone our 2021 AGM which was planned to be held on Tuesday 29th June.
We will let our members and supporters know as soon as it has been rescheduled.
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Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds
What We Stand For
Our aim is to work to protect and improve the Bath Grounds, Ashby de la Zouch, as a free, public access park and recreational facility for the benefit of the whole community. In particular we:
- Support enhancement of the Bath Grounds for the benefit of public enjoyment and sporting use.
- Support the prevention of building on any part of the Bath Grounds.
- Supports community ownership of the Bath Grounds.
- Support use of the Bath Grounds by community sports organisations provided this does not unduly interfere with enjoyment by other members of the public.
Royal Car Park update
The Royal Hotel car park, which was closed to public use in 2019, was subsequently used for almost a year as a depot for contractors laying a new gas main around Ashby. Unfortunately, this was not counted as a change of use and did not require new planning permission. We understand that this use has now finished and will not be re-occurring.
Bath Grounds Awarded Prestigious Green Flag
Another milestone has been reached in the history of our beloved Bath Grounds with the announcement that they have landed the coveted Green Flag Award. The Green Flag Award® scheme recognises well managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of recreational outdoor spaces across the UK and around the world. The announcement by Ashby Town Council was welcomed by the Friends who have been heavily involved in planning, managing, securing funding, and carrying out many of the improvements to the Bath Grounds over the last six years. This is just reward for the support given by the Ashby community and the FOABG membership.
The Bath Grounds have been transformed over recent years following the formation of the FOABG whose initial focus was to prevent proposed development on the grounds. We recognised that this much loved green heart of Ashby was in need of some additional TLC and embarked on the ambitious ‘Heritage Path Project’ raising some £65k in funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund and North West Leicestershire District Council. This led to the installation of the new all-weather Heritage Path around the Grounds, the various Historical Interpretation Boards and Mosaics, the archaeological survey and many other initiatives designed to lift the profile of the BG and highlight its historical importance.
These achievements, together with successful ‘Save our Bath Grounds’ campaigns in 2014 and 2018 against development on part of the BG, raising a petition of 8,000 signatures, encouraged the Friends to continue to work closely with the Town Council in generating and developing further improvement projects around the Grounds. These have included:
- The installation of new benches around the Grounds with sponsorship kindly provided by caring Ashby residents with a love of the BG.
- Additional litter bins around the Grounds.
- Maintenance of the South Street flowerbed and painting of benches.
- Annual litter picks.
- The Castle View Wildlife Walk.
- The ‘laying’ of around seventy metres of hawthorn hedge along the northern edge of the Grounds.
Over the years, the FOABG have benefitted from the support of the Ashby community and enjoy a wide following on social media from people who care deeply about protecting the Bath Grounds for the benefit of residents and visitors alike. The Friends' close relationship with the Town Council and other agencies has proved to be mutually beneficial and has led to many initiatives to reduce ASB and the incidence of dog mess, help prevent vehicles accessing the Grounds and generally helping to improve the overall environment and maintenance of the BG.
The prestigious Green Flag Award does however bring with it a range of specific responsibilities to maintain the standards upon which the Award is based. A key element of the scheme is to be able to demonstrate that suitable Action and Management Plans are in place relating to the Town Council’s aims for the Bath Grounds.
The Town Council are to be congratulated on developing both these plans which will help guide and improve the maintenance and future enjoyment of the Bath Grounds.
SEPTEMBER 2019: NEW PLANNING APPLICATION SUBMITTED FOR DEVELOPMENTS IN THE GROUNDS OF THE ROYAL HOTEL
Oakland Hotels Ltd and Peveril Homes Ltd have submitted a planning application (19-01729-FULM) to the NWLDC planning department for the:
‘Erection of a 30 apartment terrace, B1(c) office building, cafe kiosk and 45 senior living apartment block with associated car parking access, landscaping and associated access amendments’.
The principle objective of the Friends of Ashby Bath Grounds (FOABG) is to protect and improve the Bath Grounds as a free, public access park and recreational facility for the benefit of the whole community.
Our collective efforts have gone a long way towards achieving that objective. The support of our members and the almost 8000 Ashby residents who signed our petition against development on the Bath Grounds have resulted in the Developer withdrawing the proposal to build houses on the Bath Grounds from his new plans
The Town Council’s proposed purchase of the freehold of the Bath Grounds from Oakland’s Hotels (which is dependent on the Developer gaining planning approval for this new application) will secure the Bath Grounds for the community, removing any threat to development on this important heritage green space and allowing the cricket and bowls clubs to extend their leases and apply for the sports development funding which they desperately need.
TOWN COUNCIL ANNOUNCES "DEAL" TO PURCHASE THE BATH GROUNDS FOLLOWING LATEST THREAT TO BUILD HOUSES (2018/19)
On April 16th 2019, the Town Council issued a widely reported press statement which said that they have "agreed in principle a deal " with Oakland Hotels to purchase the Bath Grounds. This comes after our petition to Save the Bath Grounds (details below) gathered almost 8000 signatures. The Friends welcome this news but we do have some misgivings over the nature of the "deal" and the price agreed - £620,000, which is the commercial value if planning permission were granted for the area where house building is threatened. The Friends issued a press statement on Monday 22nd April which outlines these concerns.
To read both press statements go to the Housing on the Bath Grounds campaign page.
The Bath Grounds forms part of Ashby's Green Corridor in the heart of the town