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No public consultation over redundant football ground

NCFG chairman grills council chief executive over decision to turn football ground into multi-use games area

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886639

No public consultation over redundant football ground

THE chief executive of West Berkshire Council admitted no public consultation was carried out before announcing plans to turn the vacant Faraday Road football pitch into a multi-use games area (MUGA).

The council announced in June that it would aim to have the MUGA open and available for the public to use by September.

However, the chairman of the Newbury Community Football Group, Paul Morgan, wanted to know how that decision was made and who was consulted.

The group, which was formed in 2016 to represent the interests of the footballing community in Newbury, has submitted its own plans to install new 3G artificial pitches at Faraday Road.

When questioned about the MUGA, Mr Carter said: “What we are planning on doing is to open that site [Faraday Road] as a multi-use games area.

“Prior to redevelopment – and we don’t know when that’s going to start – it will be available for the entire community to use.

“We are working with the football club – the club that plays football. We’re quite happy to have further conversations with the community group.

“Please be assured we will be opening that site for wide-community use.”

Mr Morgan replied: “You said you’d open it in September.

“Why can you not allow that ground to remain for what it is?

“You mentioned the MUGA, and the question I asked at the executive meeting a couple of weeks ago – which you were at Nick – when you refused to answer my question and I’ll ask it again so that everyone can hear, what evidence did you have to actually say people wanted it to be a MUGA?

“What evidence did you provide or gather?

“I’ve heard it all this morning – people talking about seeking advice and guidance within the community.

“What made you make that decision, Nick, and who did you make it with?

A frustrated Mr Carter replied: “Can I finish? If you’re not going to let me finish, there’s no point in having question time. I’m just trying to answer your question.

“So, we said in September we’d publish what we were going to do with the site.

“The medium-term aspiration of that site is set out in the Vision.

“We felt the MUGA would provide maximum benefit for community use.”

Mr Morgan asked again: “So what evidence do you have for that decision? It’s a simple question.”

Mr Carter responded: “Well, it’s a short-term provision.

However, Mr Morgan asked again: “What evidence did you use to come up with that option for the ground? Answer the question. 

“Who did you ask?

Mr Carter responded: I didn’t ask anybody.” 

To which Mr Morgan replied: “Well, thank you very much.” 

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