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Newbury Showground board resigns after vote stops sale

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Newbury Showground will not be sold following a showdown last night (Monday) between the board and membership of the Newbury and District Agricultural Society.

After a 63 per cent vote to stop the move following a three-hour meeting, the society board resigned with immediate effect.

Attempts by the board to sell off the ground to cover debts were blocked by more than 200 members who had forced a vote on the issue.

A fall in showground lettings income, a bank loan and a dent in reserves said to have been caused by Covid cancellations prompted the move to try to cash in part of the prime site near the M4 to developers.

But a campaign group led by local farmer Steve Ackrill forced the society, which runs the showground, into an extraordinary general meeting to overturn moves to sell.

He said: “I think it is the right decision. We set out to get the members vote, and would have walked away if they had decided for the move to sell the ground.

"The ball is now in the court of the board who have resigned to set a date for a new EGM and a new board to be elected.”

The society board refused to comment both before and after last night’s meeting.

The decision to step down was welcomed by those leaving the meeting, describing the general state of the financial affairs of the ground as ‘a shambles’.

The showground at Chieveley is still being used as a Covid testing centre and usually hosts the Royal County of Berkshire Show in September.

Earlier this year organisers said it will ‘not return for the foreseeable future’.

The show is one of the largest agricultural shows in the South of England and has been part of Berkshire life for more than a century.

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