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End of an era for Newbury FC

Club forced to uproot as lease expires

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886639

End of an era for Newbury FC

NEWBURY FC’s 55-year stay at Faraday Road will come to an end on Sunday.

West Berkshire Council wants to redevelop the site as part of its wider plan to regenerate the London Road Industrial Estate.

For that reason, the local authority said it couldn’t commit to the club’s request for a one-year extension to its current lease.

This means the club will have to find somewhere else to play its home games next season.

It is believed that a ground share with Frilsham & Yattendon Football Club is on the cards, although this has not yet been officially confirmed.

After the lease expires, the site will be temporarily unavailable while the council surveys its condition and safety.

Subject to the results of the survey work, the local authority aims to have the site open in September and will be making it freely available to the public as a multi-use games area.

The ground will be operated in this way until the proposed redevelopment of the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) begins.

While residents may choose to use it for different sports, it will be marked up with two five-a-side pitches for those wanting to play football. 

Residents will be able to simply turn up and use the space, rather than needing to book in advance.

These arrangements will be kept under review by the council to ensure the facility is being used responsibly. 

Speaking about the council’s plans, councillor James Fredrickson (Con, Victoria) reiterated the need for more high-quality business space in Newbury, which the redevelopment of the LRIE would achieve.

Mr Fredrickson said: “Whilst we would have liked to allow the football club to stay at the pitch, we now need the site to be available for redevelopment to commence.”

However, no concrete planning applications have yet been submitted for the proposed regeneration.  

Mr Fredrickson continued: “I’m pleased that we have found a way to keep the site open to the community until we are ready to begin the redevelopment.

“This will mean many more groups will be able to enjoy the facility.

“Our plans to redevelop the site have been known for a long time and when we signed a short-term lease with Newbury Football Club in 2005 we said even then it would only run for a few years.

“The time has now come to move on to the next chapter for the London Road Industrial Estate.”

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Article comments

  • JamesFroodrick

    22/06/2018 - 12:12

    Questions for WBC: why are they (or is it just one Councillor and the Chief Exec.) dead set against the regeneration of London Road Estate including a revitalized community sports facility instead of private flats? 2. Why are all decisions made behind closed doors? 3. Where will all the dozens of businesses and hundred of workers go when they are booted out of LRE by the Council. (Newbury Football Ground is just the first step). 4. Why is the Council yet again giving away land and underwriting a private developer's risk? 5. Why hasn't there been any public consultation?; 6. What happened to transparency - why are all meetings about LRE and the Community Football Ground held in private?

    Reply

  • JamesFroodrick

    22/06/2018 - 12:12

    Another uninformed, dishonest, unilateral & disingenuous action by WBC against the community to line the pockets of a big private developer. WBC was getting rent from the operator (NFC), but will now expend public money- probably paid for by closing other services for the vulnerable. Pure genius - NOT! Typically, decision reached in secret without any consultation with the community. Fredrickson's claims are factually untrue: the land is not required in the medium term (if ever - just last year Nick Carter publicly said no development for 5 years): No planning application or permission for WBC's development, F/Ground is protected by local planning policy & an Asset of Community Value order, WBC not allowed to close/change the facility (flouts planning and other laws). Tons of evidence sent to WBC (e.g. 5,000+ petition & formal survey) to prove the Ground is crucial to community football in Newbury. There's a planning application to enhance the facility for the community.

    Reply

  • Guide Dog

    21/06/2018 - 08:08

    So the Football Club is needed for business space whilst business space elsewhere is converted into homes! WBC seems to attract councillors who have logic bypass.

    Reply

    • NoisyNortherner

      21/06/2018 - 09:09

      I suspect the reasoning here is the qualifier'high quality'. The offices converted to housing tend to be older, and have been empty (or mostly so) for some time. Case in point is Overbridge Square. I'm struggling to work out where the team could possibly source a new piece of land for a ground within the confines of Newbury without more 'urban sprawl'.

      Reply