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Community group scheme to save Newbury's football ground on display next week

Public consultation to be held as national body raises no objection

Community group scheme to save  Newbury's football ground

THE latest plan to keep Newbury’s Faraday Road football stadium open for future generations to use will be heard next week. 

Newbury Community Football Group (NCFG) has applied to create an all-weather 3G pitch and new facilities for the community. 

The ground closed in June after West Berkshire Council said it couldn’t commit to extending Newbury FC’s lease for another year. 

The decision ended the club’s 55-year spell at the stadium and they now play their home matches at Brimpton. 

The council wants to redevelop the Faraday Road ground as part of its wider plan to regenerate the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE). However no planning application has yet been submitted by its chosen developer, St Modwen. 

NCFG will be holding a public meeting featuring presentations on its scheme to secure the ground’s long-term future, between 6pm and 7pm,  at Document House, Newbury, on Thursday, September 13. 

NCFG spokesman for NCFG Lee McDougall said: “We hope lots of people can join us for the public consultation... whether you support the application or not, or you would just like to know more.

“We wholeheartedly support the vision to improve the London Road Estate. As part of this vision, our proposal to improve the community football ground with state-of-the-art 3G pitches for all ages and new clubhouse facilities enhances the public realm and is in harmony with Victoria Park.

“The consultation will take place in the Document House pub after West Berkshire Council refused access to the Club House at the football ground itself. We would like to thank the Document House for allowing us to hold this event at their premises”

Sport England has not objected to the plans, subject to three conditions being attached to the application. 

The organisation, whose aim is to build a foundation of community sports, said that the Faraday Road ground was “an important site for community football in the town”, being the only facility in Newbury suitable for National League System football.

Sport England added that the Football Foundation, on behalf of the Berks & Bucks FA, supported the NCFG in its aspiration to develop the site.

It said: “The replacement of the full-size grass pitch with an artificial grass pitch (and additional pitches) will increase the number of matches that can be played on the site, as the capacity of grass pitches is lower than it is for artificial pitches.

“The site is already well used by youth teams and as a competition venue.” 

West Berkshire Council is conducting safety checks on the ground, adding that it hoped to reopen it as a free-to-use multi-use games area later this month.

The ground will be operated in this way until the proposed redevelopment of the LRIE begins.

While residents may choose to use it for different sports, it will be marked up with two five-a-side pitches for those wanting to play football. 

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