Football returns to Faraday Road, Newbury
Football will be returning to Faraday Road in two weeks.
The sports facility will officially open on Sunday, November 19, says West Berkshire Council (WBC).
There will be temporary changing facilities and football goals for both adults and children.
The Newbury Community Football Group already has planning permission to put a small stadium and changing facilities at the site, which under the previous Conservative administration was earmarked for development.
Newbury FC’s clubhouse – which once sat on the Faraday Road site – was destroyed by a fire in August 2021.
The site had been empty since the summer of 2018 when the then Conservative-run West Berkshire evicted Newbury Football Club to prepare for the redevelopment of the London Road Industrial Estate.
The facility then fell into a state of disrepair, and a planning application to demolish the clubhouse and turn the site into an open recreation space was voted on in early September 2021.
A new Sports Hub at Newbury Rugby Club in Monks Lane was approved in March 2022.
Last-ditch legal efforts by campaigners wanting football to stay at Faraday Road in the town centre failed to stop the move.
Objectors claimed West Berkshire Council’s planning process was flawed.
In January, this year the decision went to the High Court.
In February, the High Court sided with West Berkshire Council, approving the Monks Lane Sports Hub.
A Newbury resident refused to accept the ruling and lodged an appeal.
In May, the Liberal Democrats won the local elections and work began very quickly with the new administration getting boots on the ground in the same month.
The grand opening will kick off at 11.30am with welcoming speeches from WBC leader Lee Dillon and Newbury Community Football Club’s Lee McDougall.
“Faraday Road is widely recognised as the home of football in the district,” said Mr Dillon, who became council leader in May.
“We were committed to bringing this community facility back into action and it’s wonderful to see the hard work of all those involved pay off.”
He added: “The reinstatement of the ground this year has prompted reconsideration of the planned Newbury Sports Hub at Monks Lane and the current plan will not be progressed.
“In due course, further work will be done to consider what is needed at Monks Lane in the context of a wider strategic review of sports facilities across the district.”
Players and representatives from both Newbury FC and Newbury Women FC will be in attendance.
At noon the under-8 teams from two Newbury clubs – AFC Newbury Boys and Girls FC – play CSA 07 FC.
There will be a penalty shootout featuring Newbury FC goalkeepers and people of all ages are invited to step into the spotlight to take a penalty.