Sun, 19 Feb 2017
PLANS to demolish the existing Newbury Athletic Club clubhouse and replace it with a new facility have been approved.
The new building will serve the needs of both Newbury Athletic Club and St Bartholomew’s School – which will use the changing facilities.
The site in Fifth Road is used as a playing field by the school for pitched-based sports and field athletics.
Newbury Athletic Club operates the existing building in partnership with the school.
In the application it says: “The club have been operating from the existing building for many years.
“The existing building, a former WW2 portable billet hut built between 1939 and 1945, was erected at the site in an already-used condition.
“The nature of the existing building as a temporary structure means that it was most likely intended to have a lifespan of no more than 25 years.
“Our estimate is that the building is now around 70 years old, which is reflected in the near-derelict condition of the building in its present state, despite the best efforts of Newbury Athletic Club to keep it operational.
“Due to this, the school cannot use the facilities, meaning that its pupils need to walk approximately half-a-mile before reaching the changing facilities at the main school site.
“It is in urgent need of replacement with a modern building fit for the needs of St Bartholomew’s School and Newbury Athletic Club.”
It goes on to say: “In its current near-derelict condition, it is highly unsustainable with little to no insulation.
“Furthermore, the heating and lighting equipment is very old and inefficient by modern standards.
“The combination of these characteristics of the existing building make it close to unusable.”
Neither Newbury Town Council nor Enborne Parish Council have raised any objection.
West Berkshire Council noted the historical significance of the building, saying: “The application to demolish the existing clubhouse and construct a new building is of some archaeological interest.
“The site is within the extended area of the Civil War First Battle of Newbury and archaeological evidence was found at Enborne Gate Farm to the north that suggests Iron Age activity in the immediate area.
“As such, there is some potential for in situ archaeological features and deposits (as well as artefacts associated with the Civil War battle) to remain on site.
“Accordingly, I would suggest that the applicant(s) be asked to commission a programme of archaeological supervision during the excavation of the foundations and any related ground works for the new clubhouse and associated landscaping.
“It is also mentioned in the design and access statement that the existing clubhouse (to be demolished) is a surviving World War II former billet hut.
“It is recognised that no viable use can be found for the building, but this represents a previously unrecognised surviving piece of military heritage that should be recorded before demolition.”