NEWBURY Community Football Group (NCFG) has submitted plans to redevelop the club’s Faraday Road ground.
The proposals, which will not rely on public funds, consist of four all-weather 3G pitches – one full-size, one youth-size and two mini-soccer pitches.
This comes despite West Berkshire Council making it clear it intends to terminate the football club’s lease later this year so that it can press ahead with its long-desired and controversial plan to redevelop the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE).
Advocates of the proposal say the 3G pitches will enable many games to be played on a daily basis and will help address the shortage of football pitches in West Berkshire, as identified by the Football Association in a recent report.
The application is also supported by a recent survey conducted by NCFG, which found that 91 per cent of respondents felt that the town did not have enough quality outdoor football venues.
From almost 200 responses in the survey – the largest conducted into community football facilities within West Berkshire – only nine per cent believed that there are an adequate number of well-maintained grass pitches in Newbury.
The council was originally going to evict Newbury FC from Faraday Road in 2016, but granted them a two-year stay of execution by extending the lease until 2018.
In November 2016, NCFG successfully gained Asset of Community Value status for the site, meaning the council must allow community groups a chance to bid for the ground.
Spokesman for NCFG Lee McDougall welcomed the application and praised it as an exciting step towards increasing the number of football pitches available for the town.
He said: “We are determined to ensure there are enough quality facilities for our children and the wider community to use for the long term, to develop their sports skills and also to promote health and wellbeing in our community.”