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Council's plans for football ground 'lack detail'

Sport England responds to 'extremely poor' application

SPORT England has objected to West Berkshire Council’s plans for a multi-use games area (MUGA) at Newbury’s Faraday Road football ground – owing to lack of detail.

The council wants to create two five-a-side pitches and allow members of the public to use them.

It will stay that way until the ground is ready to be redeveloped and turned into flats as part of the wider plan to regenerate the London Road Industrial Estate.

The council has submitted plans for the MUGA and eight new floodlights to replace the existing six.

However, Sport England said it could not make a decision as vital information, including how the MUGA would be managed, was missing from the application.

Responding to the council’s application, Sport England, a public body whose role is to encourage sport participation across the country, said there was “insufficient information” for it to make a substantive response.

It has asked the council to provide an existing layout plan, along with details of the proposed surface of the MUGA as “the application is extremely poor and lacks detail”.

Sport England has also asked for a statement on how the proposal relates to West Berkshire’s playing pitch strategy, which it says should include a time frame for the replacement of the Faraday Road ground.

It also wants to know who would use the MUGA and, how the facility would be managed and maintained.

Plans for a MUGA were first announced last June.

The council had said it would aim to have the facility open and available for the public to use by September 2018 – however, the football ground is still empty.

The announcement about the MUGA followed a controversial decision to terminate Newbury Football Club’s lease.

The council said it could not grant the club’s request for a 12-month extension as it needed the ground to be ready for redevelopment.

The planning application can can be viewed and commented on by entering 19/00814/FUL into the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website.

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