Tue, 25 Feb 2020
WEST Berkshire Council has been left dumbfounded after more than 350 metres of metal barrier fencing disappeared from Newbury’s Faraday Road football ground.
The missing fencing – which ran around the perimeter of the pitch – was first noticed by members from Newbury Community Football Group when they met councillor Rick Jones at the ground on December 10, 2019.
Mr Jones, the council’s portfolio holder for public health and wellbeing, said he knew nothing about the missing fence and promised to look into it.
Two months on, however, Mr Jones has admitted that he’s still unable to explain the removal.
At last Thursday’s West Berkshire Council executive meeting, Paul Morgan from the football group asked Mr Jones if the removal had been authorised by the council, why it was removed and whether it had been sold.
Mr Jones replied: “I can’t answer that question – I tried to find out but I haven’t been able to do so.”
NCFG estimate the scrap value of the metal to be £3,000 to £6,000, while the cost to replace it, on a like-for-like basis, could be as much as £20,000.
Lee McDougall from NCFG said: “This was a demolition activity that would have needed permits, risk assessments and statements of work for anyone from the council to have been involved.
“So the fact that councillor Jones can find no record of it within the council after nine weeks of looking shows it must have been an unauthorised removal.
“As the site is listed on the council’s register as an Asset of Community Value, we strongly urge West Berkshire Council to ask the public if they can help solve the mystery of the missing fence.
“Alternatively, contact the police to ask them to investigate the matter as soon as possible, especially as councillor Jones has stated the pitch perimeter fence is important for public safety.
“If thieves did steal the metal barrier fencing, they must have been very conscientious as they seem to have refilled in the hundreds of holes from the removed fence posts.”