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Lease offer may give Newbury FC extra time

The district council has this week offered Newbury Town Council the option of renting the ground

Dan Cooper

Dan Cooper

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

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Foul! Newbury Football Club may fold after council backtracks on replacement ground

A NEW proposal has been put forward which could allow Newbury FC to carry on playing football at Faraday Road until the regeneration of the area begins.

The current lease on the land expires on June 24, so, as things stand, the football club will have to leave then and find somewhere else to play next season.

However, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel for the club, for now at least.

West Berkshire Council has this week offered Newbury Town Council the option of renting the ground, which would allow it to be made available for recreational use.

If this is agreed, the football club, alongside other community groups, would then be able to approach the town council and ask if they can play there.

However, the short-term lease offered to the town council will include a clause which would allow West Berkshire Council to take it back at short notice when developers move in.

Newbury FC chairman Keith Moss was cautiously optimistic about the proposal.

He said: “This seems to be good news because it gives us a bit of extra time to sort things out.

“I have been in touch with the town council with regards to the pitch in Victoria Park where we used to play, but there are no dressing rooms.

“If that was available then at least we would have somewhere to play, because the club has been going in the town since 1887.

“All the players want to stay here and they are asking me what is happening.”

The option will be discussed by the town council at a meeting next week and, if it decides to support the proposal, it will go out to consultation to allow the public to have their say.

A final decision is expected to be made by the town council on June 25, once the results of the public consultation are known.

The ground falls within an area earmarked for a redevelopment of the London Road Industrial Estate, which will include new housing office and retail space.

St Modwen was appointed as the council’s preferred developer back in 2014 and plans are expected to be submitted once legal issues have been resolved.

In the meantime, West Berkshire Council and Newbury Town Council are exploring options for the site to ensure it still remains available for community use until the development begins.

To complicate matters further, a separate planning application by Newbury CommunityFootball Group in relation to the ground has also been submitted and is currently being considered by the council.

West Berkshire councillor James Fredrickson said: “This land is important for our vision for the area but until work begins we want it to remain accessible to the local community.

“We have approached Newbury Town Council, given its fantastic track record in maintaining recreation sites across Newbury.

“I’m hopeful that they will rent the land from us and use it to benefit the town until the moment development begins. 

“However should they be unable to accept the proposal, West Berkshire Council would look to operate the Faraday Road site directly.”

West Berkshire Council was originally going to kick Newbury FC out of Faraday Road in June 2016, but, following a public backlash, gave the club a two-year stay of execution.

The council’s chief executive, Nick Carter, said at the time that it was “not duty bound” to find the football club somewhere else to play but would do all it could to help.

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Article comments

  • Browntrout

    30/04/2018 - 15:03

    This is only going to end one way so give it up sooner rather than later and try to merge with Thatcham Town or Ground Share with them. Maybe there is a site opportunity up on the Greenham Business Park.. Contact Julian Swift-Hook for advice, he's a great businessman :-)

    Reply

    • Jeff 68

      30/04/2018 - 15:03

      There would be no benefit to Thatcham as they are operating at a higher level have the stability of ground ownership and have a stable structure with outstanding coaches. If every organisation in peril just gave uo we would be living in a community where nobody stood up to councils and local government.So giving up is not an option as there are a core of people willing the club to survive.

      Reply

      • Browntrout

        30/04/2018 - 17:05

        The writing was on the wall a long time ago - This isn't about the Council. Thatcham Town have built themselves a solid infrastructure without oversight, just as Newbury Rugby Club have. Newbury Football needed to have had a secure, legal long term plan. They didn't and their short term plan has unravelled with no viable Plan B, C or D. Thatcham is set up for football so an approach should be made. A pitch at Victoria park is hysterical - Maybe Wash Common park would be possible

        Reply

        • Jeff 68

          02/05/2018 - 17:05

          I don't think the rugby club had a clear strategy.RFU funding and Vodafone sponsorship vanished after big budget schemes Agreed the rugby club reached the second tier of the pro game but also overspent and had to sell of acres of land and implement a debenture scheme. Newbury F.c have had bad ownership and are at the mercy of the council as they are not well supported concern.

          Reply

        • Jeff 68

          02/05/2018 - 17:05

          It's easy to dismiss something as an irrelevance because you don't care about it. I have no interest in bell ringing or rambling but if a local club was in peril I would want it saved. The football​ club has been let down by past owners who let it fall into liquidation after an early promise of glory. With Thatcham having such a successful season it would be sad to see that derby vanish for good.

          Reply

  • Perry Poulten

    Perry Poulten

    30/04/2018 - 14:02

    jkjbbjk

    Reply

  • Jeff 68

    30/04/2018 - 14:02

    The posts are missing any reference to the football club which although way below the level they were at in the mid 90s still deserve at least a pitch to play on.The constant regeneration of the town and plans to build on the site shouldn't mean making the club homeless. The ground is way above Thames Valley League standards as the other clubs play on well maintained pitches but don't have seating or to my knowledge floodlights.Which means the council aren't being expected to fund a multi million pound upgrade just facilitate a move to a suitable plot. Ideally the town would have a similar facility like the one in Slough,all weather pitch and an emphasis on community use but I am not sure that is anyone's priority on the council. Most clubs have well over a century of history,kept alive by volunteers like Mr Moss.I could go on but I want the club to survive and the council can do a lot to help.Added to which the youth teams feed into the first team,so it affects all age groups

    Reply

  • Oldmoaner

    30/04/2018 - 10:10

    I love the use of their vision it has more u turns, dead ends and T junctions to bring Newbury to its knees than anything. These profit mongers only want high rise high council tax visitors to flood the town. People are not important to them and they still say rural market town. What will have to go next to swell the council,s dictatorial ego. Its time for NTC to make a stand.

    Reply

    • NewburyLad

      30/04/2018 - 12:12

      I'd far rather 20 council tax band G/H families move into Newbury than 20 band A/B families move in. The former are more likely to be high rate tax payers, more likely to be paying for their own health care and more likely to be educating their children privately. So the former are more likely going to be net contributors to Newbury's finances. The latter however are more likely to be using our free NHS, our state funded schools and more than likely will be on some sort of taxpayer funded benefits scheme.

      Reply

      • Oldmoaner

        30/04/2018 - 12:12

        Oh sorry I forgot its all about greed and profit, there is no room for humanity in todays society. There is no us its all about me.

        Reply

        • NewburyLad

          30/04/2018 - 18:06

          Old moaner, what on earth are you rambling on about? Raising MORE money into council coffers is going to help everyone living in the area who use council services. Or are you actually saying you want everyone to pay even less in council tax and presumably just let the magic money fund council services? How can bringing in more richer people to pay MORE council tax be seen as greed & profit and no humanity? I think you've been brainwashed by decades of swallowing Labour's propaganda to actually think for yourself.

          Reply