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Replacement for Faraday Road football ground in Newbury set to move step closer

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Newbury Rugby Club (46440296)
Newbury Rugby Club (46440296)

PLANS for a replacement football ground at Newbury Rugby Club are set to take a big step forward tonight (Thursday) as the proposals go before the council's executive body for approval.

As revealed in the Newbury Weekly News last week, the ground will be a Step 4 facility with an artificial pitch, two stands and a 30-person capacity function room, including a bar, within the clubhouse.

A council report on the joint land deal between the council and the rugby club states that the council’s aim is to ensure the new facility “has the ability to achieve a Step 4 facility in the future”.

However, executive member for leisure and culture Howard Woollaston (Con, Lambourn) said that the document was written before a deal had been agreed and that the new ground will open as a Step 4 facility, potentially with room for expansion in the future.

This means Newbury Football Club – which currently competes at Step 7 – will be able to compete at a level three leagues above their current one without further improvements needing to be made to the ground.

Thatcham Town play at Step 4 and Hungerford Town at Step 2.

Mr Woollaston said: “We thought we could get it to Step 4 when the documents were written but we weren’t 100 per cent certain.

“It will be Step 4 when it opens, and it’ll have the two stands with turnstiles, floodlights, full fencing around it, four changing rooms in the clubhouse with two changing rooms for officials.”

Plans for the ground aren't yet publicly available, and details of the lease agreement between the council and the rugby club remain confidential.

However, the council will pay the rugby club an annual rent, as well as a lump sum upon signing the lease which will be used by the rugby club for improvements to the site.

The council’s chief executive Nick Carter said details of the lease would be released later this year once it had been approved by the executive.

If the proposals are approved tonight, a planning application will be submitted at the beginning of May, with the council hopeful that the ground can be opened in March 2022.

The ground will be the replacement for Faraday Road football ground, which has been vacant since Newbury FC were evicted in 2018.

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