Mon, 30 Apr 2018
NEWBURY Community Football Group (NCFG) has submitted plans to develop the club’s playing facilities at its Faraday Road ground.
Plans have been submitted to create four artificial pitches, made from 3G and 4G artificial grass – the standard pitch types required by the majority of football leagues in the country.
Designed to cater for all uses and age-groups, the four pitches will comprise of one senior pitch, a youth one and two mini-soccer pitches.
The ground’s future received a massive boost after it successfully gained Asset of Community Value status in November 2016.
In 2015, more than 300 people signed a petition to stop West Berkshire Council kicking Newbury FC off its Faraday Road site after the local authority looked to press ahead with developing the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE).
Advocates of the scheme say it is compatible with the district council’s joint health and wellbeing strategy, which seeks to improve health and wellbeing by reducing childhood obesity and encouraging residents to be more physically active.
NCFG also suggests the plans are in line with the Newbury Vision – a document which sets out the district council’s aspirations for the future of Newbury – due to its positive contribution to the town’s green infrastructure.
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.
If approved, the pitches will be funded through private means without cost to the public purse.
But the council, the leaseholder for the ground, will be invited to consider co-funding to enhance its income from the site.
NFCG spokesman Lee McDougall welcomed the submission of the application and hoped it would not be overlooked by the proposed LRIE development.
Referring to the development of the club ground alongside the LRIE, he said: “It has to be one or the other.
“Given the asset of community value that the ground was granted in 2016, it is positive that the council is taking an interest.”
“If the planning authority acts independently, there’s no reason why they should not approve it.”
The council will make a decision on the application in July – by which time Newbury FC’s lease will be up.
View and comment on the plans by entering 18/00603/COMIND into West Berkshire Council’s planning website.