Click the NEWS BLOG button for what's been happening...
News updates August-November 2019
Not much has happened with the council's MUGA or our long-overdue 3G planning application but our evidence-based LGO complaint has moved on to its last stages of determination and we are optimistic to hear of a mutually agreeable Playing Pitch Strategy (PPS).
We are in dialogue with the council's portfolio holder about the possibility of reopening the ground and are waiting to see site reports, but we're not holding our breath.
The FA has launched its Local Football Facility Plan survey and we've contributed. We're still proactively looking forward to Newbury getting some new, better artificial pitches.
Please see the news blog and here for a summary of our council executive questions.
Please see the news blog and here for a list of our Freedom of Information (FOI) requests.
News updates May-July 2019
No movement on the heavily objected West Berks Council MUGA plans for Newbury Football Ground, upheld by Newbury Town Council.
No news of when our artificial turf and ground planning application will be heard.
Some of the old sheds on the ground mysteriously catch fire! See this.
The spectator stand makes its way to Hungerford, but it's 40% of its former size, see this.
NCFG's complaint with the Local Government Ombudsman is delayed by slow and incomplete responses from the council (sounds familiar!).
Our FOI about the plan behind the MUGA reveals some of WBCs avoidance tactics. Read this.
WBC at loggerheads with the sporting bodies over the Playing Pitch Strategy and whether the Faraday Road ground should be replaced with an equal or better facility.
WBC want to gamble on demonstrating the LRIE redevelopment outweighs keeping the ground, but they cannot defend not replacing it! NCFG is discussing the issues with the council's leisure head, Cllr Rick Jones (more details to be added to the news blog shortly).
News updates April 2019
West Berks Council applies for planning permission to erect perimeter fencing and floodlights at Newbury Football Ground arounds its proposed multi-use games area (MUGA)! WHY?! We have a perfectly good application to build an artificial football pitch and facilities to cater for organised league and cup football. And WBC's work will cost three times the £88,000 already mentioned by them. Given that there will be no developments in the London Road Estate for a long time, they could have left the ground as it was and the community would have retained its much needed facility.
The surprising MUGA planning application by the Council is here:
We need to secure at least 10 objections to it to force it to committee. This is further destruction of the existing facility, there is a lack lack of evidence to support its need, it's counter to the need for formal football facilities, a waste of public money, contrary to WBC's own policies.
It will cost more than the predicted £88k (maybe up to £300K) and we demand the council declare how much it has budgeted for the facility and how much it has budgeted for the replacement of the football ground.
The Council has failed to be transparent about its intentions, has misrepresented the nature of the new facility, has spent and committed yet more public funds without evidence and unnecessarily (added to which the is no way this could be classed as a priority when other services have been deprived of funding), failed to carry out consultation, breached its own planning policy (specific protection of the football ground – ADPP2 & CS18). It's also counter-intuitive to its long term regeneration goal as the new facility will be destroyed by future redevelopment!
See the news blog for how to object either online:
or by email to:
planapps.westberks.gov.uk quoting reference 19/00814/FUL
News updates February-March 2019
While West Berks Council denies any wrongdoing over the London Road estate fiasco, many questions on strategy and costs remain. As we get closer to the local elections on 2 May, the council goes on the charm offensive for votes with positively spun news on LRIE plans, the re-opening of Faraday Road for multi-sports and public consultations which have been scarce to-date!
Whatever your political colours, please do take time to understand the local issues which are important to you and vote for the party promising solutions (and then hold them to it!)
See the news blog for news articles, councillors' LRIE letters and more background information.
NCFG continues to question the council's attitude to football at its public meetings.
The third stage of our complaint is still being investigated thoroughly by the Local Government Ombudsman.
Newbury FC will move to Henwick (a football pitch, not a ground) with little hope of playing at Northcroft at a proper ground (if WBC deem it viable) for some years.
NCFG continues to support all local football clubs, growing its membership, and we eagerly await the Playing Pitch Strategy which is overdue publication.
News update 16/11/18
London Road development halted!
Please see the news blog and here for the press release
We had around a hundred attendees at our two successful public consultations at Document House on Thursday 13th September (thank you!). If you have any further questions about NCFG or our football ground improvement planning application, please contact us.
Our thanks to Michelle & Lee at Document House :)
- PowerPoint presentation here
- Design & Access Statement here
- Q & A sheet here
- 3G ground layout here
And thank you to those few councillors who could make it to the briefing... if you wish to tell West Berks Council what you think, please contact their CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
Our petition for you to support our planning application for an all-weather pitch at Faraday Road, rather than the council's plan for flats, is now live, so please share it widely!
Please read an up-to-date summary of our position
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.