Campaigning to save Newbury's main football ground from council redevelopment and improve playing facilities for the community.
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.
(with NCFG comments in red)
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.
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?”
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?).
Click here to hear Lee's interview with Radio Berkshire 11/04/17!
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.
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