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Campaigning to save Newbury's main football ground from council redevelopment and improve playing facilities for the community.

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NEWS...

 

Late June 2017... West Berkshire Council suggest Newbury FC ground share with Thatcham Town FC.

NFC's reaction to WBC letter in Newbury Weekly News, click here

Comment - the letter deliberately misses the point by focussing on the team and is essentially a means of acquiring vacant possession of Newbury Football Ground before any development plan is in place. The issue is really about saving the community's ground first and thereby securing a quality senior and junior football venue for the future in a growing town.

 

West Berkshire Council Executive Meeting 4 May 2017

Questions and Answers - Public Questions as specified in the Council’s Procedure Rules of the Constitution

 

(with NCFG comments in red)

 

(f) Question submitted to the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing by Ms. Judith Bunting:

Question:

“As the Council's adopted Core Strategy requires the protection and enhancement of green infrastructure and cultural facilities in West Berkshire, including named outdoor sporting facilities, what investment is planned to safeguard and enhance the protected community green infrastructure and cultural facility at Newbury Football Ground in Faraday Road?”

The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing answered:

Thank you for your question.

Policy CS18 is clear and I will quote it “Developments resulting in the loss of green

infrastructure or harm to its use or enjoyment by the public will not be permitted. Where exceptionally it is agreed that an area of green infrastructure can be lost a new one of equal or greater size and standard will be required to be provided in an accessible location close by”.

Therefore, not every bit of existing green infrastructure will be safeguarded or enhanced within West Berkshire.

Whilst I’m sure you are aware that the football ground has been registered as an asset of community value, the Council has none the less been investigating options for alternatives for AFC Newbury such as ground share (it's Newbury FC and WBC has not investigated ground share with that club), and although AFC Newbury has many junior sides, these play at a variety of other locations within the community (AFC Newbury Boys & Girls has had under 6s train and under 15/16s play matches there).

You refer to a cultural facility at Newbury Football Ground, but I am unaware of any other cultural offering apart from bingo (see the actual list of cultural events on the Project page). West Berkshire, and Newbury in particular, has a varied cultural offering which serves its residents well.

With regard to outdoor sporting facilities, the Council, together with Sport England, has commissioned a review of the playing pitches in the authority and this is due to report in 12 months time.

Finally, I would say that the Faraday Road redevelopment will of course provide much needed housing space for businesses to grow within Newbury.

The Chairman asked: “Do you have a supplementary question arising directly out of the answer to your original question. A supplementary should be relevant to the original question and not introduce any new material?”

Ms. Judith Bunting asked the following supplementary question:

‘’Thank you for at least a partially constructive answer there. Baring in mind that in excess of 500 people, including 350 children, play club based football in and around Newbury each week, would the Council not see it fit to bring those children together and to create a cultural facility because football is after all part of British culture in that area? And with this in mind are Councillors willing to work with the Newbury Community Football Group on a progressive strategy to protect and enhance the football ground with a view to encouraging a positive attitude to exercise, health and wellbeing right at the centre of Newbury and which is at the centre of the Council’s Health and Wellbeing Strategy.’’

The Portfolio Holder for Planning and Housing answered:

Thank you for your question. We are very committed to a positive Health and Wellbeing Strategy, not just for the residents of Newbury Mrs Bunting, but for the residents of the whole of West Berkshire.

I have already said that the 350 children who play club football, do not currently play at the Newbury Football Ground (wrong) and I think that is absolutely right and proper because parents are then not polluting Newbury by driving their children into Newbury, but driving them to places where they live nearby and I think that is absolutely right, lawful and proper (parents are driving from the centre of Newbury out to Stockcross & Speen, so how does that reduce pollution?).

We are always willing to work with any organisation which comes forward to us with a positive proposal.

 

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Please take part in our consultation questionnaire about the current community football facilities in Newbury. We would really value your support in raising awareness of the survey and encouraging people to take part; it only takes a few minutes.

 

We feel that it's really important for the views of the community to be fully understood and our ambition is not to simply maintain what exists, but to grow our facilities in Newbury into something our community can be proud of - children and adults alike.

 

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/Newbury_Football_Facilities

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us for any more information and many thanks for your support!

Lee McDougall / NCFG Press Officer / 07836 201362

 

Click here to hear Lee's interview with Radio Berkshire 11/04/17!

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A FEW WORDS ABOUT US

 

NCFG was formed in late 2015 by members of local footballing organisations in reaction to the council's proposals to demolish the town's main football ground as part of a larger land redevelopment.

 

The group feels strongly that senior and youth football should retain its community home near the town centre and that the council has got its vision wrong.

 

Hundreds of children and teenagers play football in Newbury each week. This goes to the heart of improving health and wellbeing, as per West Berkshire Council’s (WBC) and the Government’s strategy. Closing the ground is fundamentally counter-productive.

 

Newbury Football Ground is crucial to retaining interest from young to teenage and beyond (aspiration to play at a higher, older age level and succession of players progressing) and it is Newbury’s premier ground.

 

Despite the best efforts of the volunteer group that has maintained the ground, it has suffered from chronic under-investment (including no public funding) which NCFG is aiming to address.

 

The FA concludes that West Berks needs at least four 3G/4G pitches.

 

The main objectives of WBC in redeveloping the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE, where the Faraday Road ground is) are regeneration and increased income from the land.

 

NCFG’s plan to develop Newbury Football Ground (NFG) into an exciting, multi-sport community facility for the community with artificial pitch(es) is financially sustainable and has the potential to dramatically improve the council’s income. It will therefore satisfy the above objectives and is in keeping with current strategies for regeneration/income enhancement from LRIE and improving wellbeing/health in West Berkshire (particularly for the young).

 

NCFG’s plan is compatible with the council’s objectives so we believe that the council should welcome it. In fact, NCFG is not proposing anything that opposes/damages the council’s strategy and objectives.

 

WBC’s draft Housing Site Allocations policy (see section 2.10 – 2.14 London Road Industrial Estate - Area of Regeneration) identifies that the area is not required for housing, so their proposal to redevelop the ground for flats is unsupported by evidence and planning policy.

KEY POINTS

Newbury Football Ground is an Asset of Community Value and playing sport is good for you.

 

West Berkshire Council agrees, but it also wants to demolish the ground!

 

We formed NCFG as a Community Interest Company (CIC) to organise our campaign in April 2016.

 

6500+ people agreed and signed our petition!

 

We want to develop a better football ground and increase its community use.

 

We not only want to save NFG; we also want more all-weather facilities, so please complete our survey below.

 

CONTACT US

Newbury, Berks, UK

info@ncfg.uk

Tel: 07### ######

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