Sat, 11 Aug 2018
WEST Berkshire Council has turned down Newbury Community Football Group’s “kind offer” of taking on and managing the lease for the Faraday Road ground.
The group wants to see the ground made available for use by the community and has submitted plans for artificial grass pitches and a new clubhouse.
Conservative councillor James Fredrickson (Con, Victoria) said the local authority was “best placed” to manage the facility and needed to make the ground available for redevelopment at short notice.
He was responding to the council’s deputy opposition leader Alan Macro (Lib Dem, Theale) at an executive meeting on July 26.
Mr Macro asked why the council “would not enter into a short-term lease with the Newbury Community Football Group for use of the Faraday Road site”.
Mr Fredrickson replied: “As the appeal case regarding the wider London Road Industrial Estate redevelopment has now been heard, the council wants to have the flexibility to commence redevelopment as quickly as possible.
“This is why no long lease with any organisation has been provided for the site.
“As for the group you refer to in the question – it is a kind offer regarding them taking the lease and managing the site.
“However, we believe the council is best placed to manage the site, given it already manages multiple similar sites and also carries public service obligations.
“I still want to be very clear, the group itself and the organisations it represents are more than welcome to utilise the site and that is exactly the purpose of what we are doing here.
“I completely understand that nobody wants to see that site not being available to the public.
“We intend to make it available for as long as possible, right up until the point we are starting to invest in the site.”
Alan Macro responded: “There is currently a football ground there and a stadium. My understanding of the council’s plans is a MUGA [multi-use games area], which my guess is will involve it being demolished, whereas the proposal from the group will keep it as a football ground.”
Mr Fredrickson replied: “The council at the moment is conducting an assessment of the site as it has to do when it takes on any entity which it then wants to make available to the public, so considerations of health and safety and relevant insurance, etc.
“The results of that assessment I believe we are committed to making available in September. We will have to wait on what the result is of that study.”