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Final whistle on extra time for Newbury FC?

Town council rejects district council’s offer to rent ground for community use

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886639

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

IT is no clearer as to whether Newbury FC will be able to continue playing football at Faraday Road next season.

West Berkshire Council, which owns the land, has said it will not renew the lease when it expires in June.

It will remain available for community use, but, despite repeated questions from the Newbury Weekly News, the council was unable to confirm how the football club fits into that plan.

Last month, the district council offered Newbury Town Council the option of renting the ground.

It said this would allow Newbury FC to make more long-term arrangements while potentially sharing the site with other community groups for recreational use.

However, at a meeting last week, the town council’s Conservative members rejected that offer when its policy and resources committee met behind closed doors on Monday, April 30.

The decision was criticised by Lib Dem councillor Julian Swift-Hook as “fundamentally wrong” for the young people of Newbury.

The district council issued a statement this week confirming that no new lease would be offered ahead of the planned regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate, which the ground falls under.

However, council spokesman Martin Dunscombe said the local authority remained committed to keeping the space available to the community for recreational use.

This, he added, is in anticipation for the regeneration period – for which planning applications have not even been submitted yet.

Mr Dunscombe added: “The council is now reviewing how to make best use of the site and this will include assessing its current condition once it returns to us.

“No new lease will be issued to ensure that the land is available at short notice, ready for the regeneration to begin.”

Mr Dunscombe confirmed the council would be providing more detail on its plans for the site this spring.

The district council says its decision to end the club’s lease was not influenced by a separate planning application submitted by Newbury Community Football Group for the installation of four artificial 3G pitches.  

Mr Dunscombe continued: “The planning application is unrelated to present discussions about the immediate use of the sports pitch at Faraday Road until the land is required as part of an important regeneration scheme within this area of Newbury.”

The district council will be providing more detail on the above matter THIS spring (and not the spring of 2019, which was referred to in this week's Newbury Weekly News

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