Mon, 13 Jan 2020
A COMMUNITY group wanting to save Newbury’s football ground from being demolished and turned into flats has put in another challenge to West Berkshire Council.
Last year, Newbury Community Football Group (NCFG) submitted plans to replace the current pitch with artificial 3G pitches. It also put forward a separate application to replace the existing spectator stand, clubhouse and changing facilities.
However, the council failed to make a decision on the application within the required time frame.
As a result, the community group has taken it to appeal.
The council has made representations at appeal that the application should be approved – with conditions.
The council acknowledged its aspirations to redevelop the LRIE, but said that these desires could “only be afforded limited weight” at this stage.
The group said it was told by the council that the application could not be determined until the council’s new Playing Pitch Strategy, which assesses sport provision in the district, had been resolved.
The ground was listed as an asset of community value in 2016.
An electronic petition with approximately 1,800 signatures and a hard copy with approximately 259 signatures was submitted in support of NCFG’s application.
Sport England and the Berks & Berks FA have both supported the NCFG applications as they would “benefit community football in Newbury”.
The Berks & Bucks FA confirmed there is an existing need for a full-size artificial pitch in Newbury and the scheme would “meet an identified local need for this type of facility”.