English Premiership rugby union club Bath Rugby has said it is confident that it will gain approval to build a new stadium on the site of its existing Recreation Ground, despite the opposition of some local residents.

The proposed 18,000-capacity stadium, which will serve as a multi-sport facility, is expected to cost at least £20m (€32.2m/$29m), although this figure could rise.

While the club has long stated its desire to construct the new stadium, a small number of local residents have continued to oppose the plans, which has meant that work has been unable to start.

However, ahead of a meeting between those opposed to the plans and the Bath Recreation Ground Trust, the charity that owns the land, next month, the club said that it is hopeful that a deal can be reached and the project can begin. 

Should the club get the go-ahead, a planning application will be drawn up early next year and building work could begin in 2018.

“There are three or four people who don't want it to happen who live nearby, but overwhelmingly the vast number of people want to see it happen," Bath Rugby managing director Tarquin McDonald said, according to Sky Sports.

“It's unfortunate that from a legal point of view it's a dog's dinner of a site. It's complicated and that means there are all sorts of challenges that people can throw in the mix.

“This is the situation we've been in for a period of time now. The people objecting are not anti-Bath rugby, but they're not Bath rugby fans as such. They're local people who have their reasons and we respect that.

“I'm hopeful and optimistic that the key hurdle in the next few months can be overcome. People in sport would love to see it happen because it is an iconic venue and to keep rugby in an amazing facility in the centre of the city would be brilliant.”