Sat, 11 Aug 2018
PLANS have been submitted to build a new clubhouse at Newbury’s Faraday Road football ground.
This is despite West Berkshire Council making clear its intention to replace the ground with flats as part of a wider plan to redevelop the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE).
The plans have been put forward by Newbury Community Football Group (NCFG), a non-profit organisation which represents the interests of Newbury’s football community.
The proposed new clubhouse would include changing rooms, toilets, office, conference room and other ancillary uses on the ground floor and a bar and café viewing area on the first floor.
Four private parking spaces alongside the public car park adjacent to the site have also been proposed.
NCFG has also submitted a separate application for 3G and 4G artificial grass pitches at the ground, which is also currently being considered by planners.
Newbury Football Club (which is separate from NCFG) saw its 55-year stay at Faraday Road end in June after West Berkshire Council said it couldn’t commit to extending its lease for another year.
The council is currently surveying the ground’s condition and safety, something it says it has to do with any facility it intends to make available for public use.
Subject to the results, it aims to have the site open in September, stating that it will be freely available to the public as a multi-use games area until the proposed redevelopment of the LRIE begins.
A petition to protect and enhance the ground and clubhouse has attracted more than 5,500 signatures.
One of the main reasons behind the proposal is to ensure NCFG has the infrastructure required for senior teams to access the higher echelons of league football.
Part of a design and access statement reads: “A lack or poor standard of facilities will prevent teams from being elevated on merit.
“This acts as a disincentive to players, particularly the young, and thereby has a negative impact on health and wellbeing.”
The facility is frequently used by a wide range of community groups across a spectrum of age groups, spanning both senior and junior teams.
These include AFC Newbury and Berkshire Schools Association teams.
The clubhouse has also served as the facility of choice for football competitions and charity events, as well as training sessions and league games and community uses.
The footprint of the proposed clubhouse will be similar to that of the current building and will complement the surrounding built form of the LRIE, which largely consists of one- and two-storey developments.
The application, NCFG has argued, is “in harmony” with the proposed redevelopment plans for the London Road Industrial Estate, which has been earmarked for partial regeneration.
West Berkshire Council is expected to make a decision on the clubhouse plans next month.