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

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News update 21/06/18

West Berks Council announce change of use of Faraday Road after Newbury FC's departure on 24/06/18 reducing it from Newbury's premier football ground to a "recreational kickabout park" (and they need 3 months to prepare it!)

Read WBC's press release here

Read Newbury Today's article here

This is a cynical and outrageous ploy to demote the ground’s status at odds with their local plan policy (i.e. protected as a football ground) and it clearly flies in the face of the need to maintain the land as an equivalent facility, flouting the Asset of Community Value status. It ignores the petition and representations made by NCFG and others to help run and maintain the ground as is. In short, it fails to reflect demand for a high quality pitch and doesn't understand the requirements of the organised footballing community. It seems that the council is trying to change the land-use through a covert and devious route so as to diminish its value to make future redevelopment easier.

There is absolutely no need to have prematurely removed Newbury FC (as club or operator) which has caused damage to the club (moving to Brimpton FC where there are no floodlights) and their partner football clubs (represented by NCFG).

Why does WBC need 2-3 months over the summer to inspect the site when it was already fine to be used for football up until now? It's not like they've had no time to prepare for this.

The council’s opposition to football in Newbury and consequent demotion of the town's men’s senior team, will undoubtedly cause youngsters looking for a pathway to adult football to be far less incentivised to participate.


News update 20/06/18

Reply to formal complaint from West Berks Council

[letter from WBC chief exec Nick Carter to NCFG Chair Paul Morgan 20/06/18]

Please see attached a copy of the letter which fails to address most of the complaints!



News update 05/06/18

Formal Complaint from NCFG with respect to the Faraday Road Football Ground and Stadium

[email sent by NCFG Chair Paul Morgan 04/06/18, acknowledged receipt "C/2018/101- Morgan" 05/06/18]

For the attention of the Complaints Team, West Berkshire Council

Please find attached a copy of a complaint submitted on behalf of Newbury Community Football Group (NCFG)

Please can you confirm receipt and direct all correspondence through Paul Morgan - Chair of NCFG

Thank you


News update 30/05/18

Newbury's Football Stadium - Breach of Core Polices by WBC

[an email sent to all West Berks councillors and their CEO]

Dear Councillor,

It's become quite apparent over the last few months that there is still a lack of understanding by many of West Berkshire's Councillors of the fact that Newbury's Football Stadium is actually protected by West Berkshire Council's own Core Policies (see below). Also that the Council has an obligation to maintain community access to the ground.

The decision to evict an operator (Newbury FC) who were not only paying rent to you but have been paying all the utility bills, maintenance costs and insurance too and for West Berks to take on the costs and management overhead, is a strange one for sure and one that can not be in the public interest.

However, to give you a very quick overview of the Stadium and why it is an important asset to our community, I would ask you to watch this short film we made when we started our engagement with the Council in 2016. It would take less than 4 minutes to watch and listen and we would love to hear what you think of it, please spare us 4 minutes of your time.

Click here.

And here's a story from the local newpaper just last week about the type of community event which is being refused by yourselves from June.

Click here.

14.1.Area Delivery Plan Policy 2 (ADPP2):

“Existing community facilities will be protected and, where appropriate, enhanced. These include leisure and cultural facilities, which contribute to the attraction of the town for both residents and visitors.”

West Berkshire Council’s interactive map identifies Newbury Football Ground as a cultural facility.

Local Planning Policy CS.18 as a vital part of Green Infrastructure in West Berkshire

The Policy is unambiguous “the district's Green Infrastructure will be protected and enhanced” and “Developments resulting in the loss of green infrastructure or harm to its use or enjoyment by the public will not be permitted”. Paragraph 5.129 names Newbury Football Grounds as part of West Berks’ Green Infrastructure and sporting provision: “sports clubs with good facilities such as Newbury Rugby Club, Newbury Town, Thatcham Town and Hungerford Town Football Clubs.

Lee McDougall (Press and Communications Manager – NCFG)


News update 23/05/18

West Berks Council has stated they need to conduct a site survey of the ground over the summer before they can allow community bookings, so our teams cannot book pre-season training, nor confirm with the leagues their home pitches for the 2018-19 season.


News update 15/05/18

West Berks Council replied to our letter and said it was going to operate Newbury Football Ground directly for the use of community groups until the site's redevelopment process commences. We await more details...


News update 10/05/18

Last night Newbury Town Council members decided at their planning meeting that they would not approve our proposed artificial pitches (part 1 of the application) at Newbury Football Ground because of parking and traffic concerns. Parking and traffic are actually incorporated in part 2 (buildings) which is being held up by West Berks Council! NCFG therefore will have to present to town council members again when/if WBC releases the missing section for NTC approval. Newbury Today report here.


News update 07/05/18

In light of Newbury Town Council's resfusal to pick up West Berks Council's offer to run Newbury Football Ground, NCFG has offered to run it. A letter has been sent to WBC.

"After Newbury Town Council declined the invitation to lease the ground from West Berkshire Council last week, I am delighted to inform you that NCFG (Newbury Community Football Group) are willing to take on this responsibility on exactly the same terms offered to Newbury Town Council.

We will ensure that the Ground is made a available to the whole community and will discharge WBC from any over-head in terms of its running costs or maintenance."


News update 04/05/18

On 24 April West Berks Council offered Newbury Town Council the opportunity to run Newbury Football Ground for a further period after the current lease expires on 24 June. Within a few days the town council had rejected the idea in private without any public consultation!

You can see Newbury Weekly News' version of events here


News update 01/03/18

You may recall 2 previous news stories about the battle to save Newbury’s football ground from redevelopment into flats by West Berks Council. The first was about the protected status of an Asset of Community Value that was awarded after an application by NCFG. The second was about a wide reaching questionnaire and survey about the current football facilities in the community.


Today, we are excited to share some news about a significant milestone in our campaign; the submission of a Planning Application by NCFG for a major redevelopment of the ground into 4 all-weather pitches to give full access to the whole community. This follows the results of the survey which showed that 91% of respondents were dissatisfied with the current football facilities in Newbury.


Please see follow the links to:

Below is an impression of the what the facility would look like:





















We are grateful to you for your support to-date in raising awareness of this community action and would value your support in raising awareness of this story!


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:


“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.



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.




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!





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.


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.



Newbury, Berks, UK


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




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