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First look of new Newbury football ground - as West Berkshire Council demolishes Faraday Road clubhouse

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THE first pictures of the new Newbury football ground in Monks Lane have been released – in the same week West Berkshire Council demolishes the old Faraday Road clubhouse.

The council has submitted a planning application for the new ‘sports hub’, located at Newbury Rugby Club – although this had yet to be validated as of this newspaper going to press, meaning the plans are not yet publicly available.

The new ground will have a high-quality artificial pitch, floodlights and a spectator stand, as well as a clubhouse with four changing rooms, a board room and a function room. #

The new sports hub at Newbury Rugby Club. (50575610)
The new sports hub at Newbury Rugby Club. (50575610)

The ground will be a Step 4 facility, meaning Newbury Football Club – which currently competes at Step 7 after resigning from Step 5 in 2015 to play in a less financially demanding league – will be able to be promoted three times before the ground needs further improvements.

The council hopes the new ground will be able to open by March 2022 – the deadline for when it needs to be registered as Newbury Football Club’s ground for the 2022/23 season.

The council’s executive member for culture and leisure Howard Woollaston (Con, Lambourn) said: “The Newbury sports hub is an exciting new facility for the town and like many people I cannot wait for it to open next year.

The new sports hub at Newbury Rugby Club. (50575603)
The new sports hub at Newbury Rugby Club. (50575603)

"Submitting a planning application is an important milestone as we progress with our plans for the hub.

“Things are really beginning to progress now, with work on the site to get under way once planning permission is granted."

However, Newbury Community Football Group chairman Paul Morgan said he would wait for details over the new sports hub before welcoming it.

He said: “We’ve just got to look at the detail of it before we can comment properly.

Diggers demolish the Faraday Road clubhouse.
Diggers demolish the Faraday Road clubhouse.

“I don’t believe the Newbury rugby ground is big enough to fulfil football requirements in Newbury and we’re very uncertain it’s a like for like replacement for the current ground.”

The council says the new stadium will be a replacement for the Faraday Road football ground, which was closed in the summer of 2018 to make way for the regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate.

The ground suffered a sad end after the clubhouse was gutted by a fire on Saturday, August 13.

Work began to demolish the structures yesterday (Wednesday) after the remaining parts were deemed to be “a risk to public safety in their current state”.

The work is being undertaken by local contractors and is forecast to take three days.

The council said undertaking the work now “represents the most cost effective course of action for taxpayers given the additional costs of securing a hazardous site”.

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