Wed, 26 Feb 2020
A CONSULTANCY company has been hired by West Berkshire Council to find alternative footballing sites to Faraday Road.
Sports surface expert Surfacing Standards Limited (SSL) has been tasked with carrying out a feasibility study for potential alternative sites at a cost of £18,000.
It has been given a brief to evaluate the pros and cons of developing a Step 6 community ground – suitable for Hellenic League Division 1 East or West football – with floodlights, car parking and facilities complying with all the requirements of the appropriate FA league.
It has been given until March 31.
The brief will not, however, include the feasibility of retaining the football ground at its current location.
This consultation is separate from the brief given to Avison Young, which has been appointed to produce a new development brief and masterplan for the London Road Industrial Estate.
At last Thursday’s council executive meeting, chairman of the Newbury Community Football Group Paul Morgan asked councillor Rick Jones to clarify whether it was the council’s policy to not allow the football ground to remain at Faraday Road.
Mr Jones said: “That is the brief I’m working to.”
Mr Jones was then asked about the steps following the consultation and how long finding and securing a viable alternative would take.
“There are a number of stages that we have to go through with any infrastructure projects,” Mr Jones said.
“This initial contract takes us to the end of March where we want to understand whether the sites that have been identified have any chance of being viable.
“If they are, we will then work with the users and surrounding residents of those locations to work out how to do the project.
“At the end of that, we will obviously start to pull a plan together for the project.
“I can’t at this stage anticipate how long that will take.
“We are in a hurry and want to do it as fast as we possibly can.”
This development is the latest in the long-running saga concerning the football ground.
The ground was controversially closed by the council in June 2018 when it evicted the incumbent Newbury FC men’s team.
West Berkshire Council hopes to demolish the site and build flats in its place.