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Keeping football's home at Faraday Road will be a lot cheaper than plonking a new 'hub' in the corner of a rugby club

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News update late-November 2021


NCFG's planning applications for 3G pitch and clubhouse at Faraday Road approved!

Sport England "gives in" and withdraws its holding objection to the Monks Lane Sports Hub, but the FA aren't happy as it's simply not a replacement for Faraday Road and football can't be played there on Sunday league mornings. And nor is it really a hub with only one pitch and just two sports.

See the news blog for our interview with ITV News (well, it was withdrawn after WBC complained!), the latest report on the hub's huge costs and of course our planning victory!


News update early November 2021


While everyone's distracted by COP26 and the local COVID rise, West Berkshire Council quietly removes the floodlights and perimeter fencing from the Faraday Road football ground to "make it safe" without seeking planning approval.

See here for what the Newbury Town councillors and football supporters think.


News update late October 2021

NCFG has reviewed the plans and business case for Monks Lane. Please see below why we have to object to this over-priced and inappropriate planning application.

The link to the open letter we have sent to the council is here and the supporting document here.


News update September-October 2021 "Grounds for concern"

Plans for Monks Lane slowly emerge but no detailed (high) costs yet. Local residents are not happy about the traffic and Sport England criticises the incomplete business plan. The council scraps its planning application to demolish Faraday Road as it's already been accomplished by the mysterious fire, so it will open as a field.

And WBC has accepted Newbury Town Council's renewal application for the Faraday Road football ground to again be an Asset of Community Value (ACV)!


News update August 2021

WBC's chief exec Nick Carter, the man who orchestrated the Faraday Road ground's closure, retires and by sheer bad coincidence the clubhouse then suffers an arson attack in the same week (no lessons learned from the first attack in June 2019). Now the buildings have been demolished ahead of the delayed demolition planning application hearing. See reports in news blog.















Sport England's support called in to question as the Monks Lane replacement (or is it?) for Faraday Road has just been submitted. Will it open in Spring 2022 and will it provide what football needs?!

In the meantime, why can't we use the town ground for matches once it's been made safe?


News update July 2021



























As well as real football matches, we used to watch the Euros at Faraday Road...

QPR striker Charlie Austin takes aim at West Berkshire Conservatives over Newbury football ground

Read the Newbury Today article here


News update May-June 2021

24 June - 3 years since Faraday Road Stadium was closed and there's still no replacement! Please sign our petition to re-open it!

The council is reluctant to share plans of its proposed ground at the rugby club and won't reveal who will use it, when it will be built and how much it will cost. It is also obstructing our planning application for a 3G ground at Faraday Road and our proposal to re-open the ground temporarily while all this deliberation goes on... simply because the Executive doesn't want it!

In the meantime, without any developments pending at the London Road Estate, why not sign our petition to allow football to be played at Faraday Road for a few months while we wait for a replacement ground? Sign our petition here:

https://www.change.org/p/temporarily-re-open-our-local-football-ground-for-organised-youth-football


News update late February-April 2021

The council and the rugby club are signing a long-term agreement, but no one's seen any plans yet so we don't know if the proposed artificial turf sports ground at Monks Lane is mainly football, mainly rugby or whether it's equal than or better than Faraday Road could be.

In the meantime, we have submitted our proposal to offer the long-suffering footballers of Newbury a ray of hope by cost-effectively re-opening Faraday Road for a limited period!

See our proposal here.

Note that the News Blog URL links to Newbury News are broken as NWN has updated its website and reindexed all their old articles (we'll fix this ASAP)


News update late January 2021

The council's Playing Pitch Strategy's (PPS) main priorities are to deliver a replacement for the Faraday Road football ground and more artificial grass pitches, especially for football. These AGPs are third generation (3G) and the FA refers to them as football turf pitches (FTPs).

But, with all the proposals for new housing estates and flats in and around the town, it makes no sense not to re-open Newbury's proper football ground at Faraday Road while a new ground is planned and developed.

If you look at the council's Proposal for a new sports ground at Newbury Rugby Club here and particularly at the proposal for a new sports ground here you may well ask these questions (and more!):

  • is this solely a football ground at the rugby club? It looks like it is!
  • is it suitable for rugby and other sports? e.g. turf, goals, storage, line markings
  • which sport takes priority and who manages those decisions? The council, the club?
  • what's in it for Newbury Rugby Football Club and what do they think about losing another grass pitch? They've already sold land to David Lloyd and Falkland Grange.
  • what is "Step 6"? It's the 6th level of the Football Association National League System (NLS amateur/semi-pro) below the top 4 professional football leagues - Premier League, Championship, Leagues 1 & 2.
  • if it's supposed to replace Faraday Road (Graded F for Step 5 and actually suitable for Grade E/Step 4) where is the new clubhouse for refreshments, spectator toilets and seated/covered stands? It appears to match the lowest level of Step 6 ground (FA NLS Ground Grading Category H - entry level for Step 6). The PPS says any ground must be upgradable to Step 5 (i.e. to Category G for full Step 6 and then on to Category F for Step 5). See https://www.thefa.com/get-involved/player/ground-grading
  • where is the physical room on the outline plan to achieve this growth? The boundary is right next to existing rugby pitches and roads.
  • how much will it cost the taxpayer? No details revealed yet, but must be £1.5M+?
  • how much disturbance will there be from the floodlights, player/crowd noise and traffic congestion? Evening play, matchday, Monks Lane junction serving NRFC, NHS/West Berks vehicle storage, David Lloyd, Falkland Grange, Cloisters, Falkland Surgery.
  • why can't the council re-open Faraday Road while they decide
    if this is a "non-starter" like plan B at the Diamond at Pigeons Farm appears to be? Council not keen on Greenham and plenty of opposition already building up.
  • how many joint rugby football and association football clubs share grounds like this? No reason why they can't co-exist, but not many examples.
  • Does the council have these answers? Without them it's hard for the general public to fill in their consultation questionnaire here
  • and is there actually enough time for the council to act on their consultation feedback before they press on with this scheme? Tight timeframe, foregone conclusion?, assuming NRFC agree...

Remember, the Newbury Today vote on where the new football ground should be?

Faraday Road 63%
Newbury Rugby Club 13%
Newbury doesn't need a football ground 7%
Northcroft 6%
Henwick Worthy 5%
Victoria Park 3%
Pigeon's Farm Road 2%
Other 1%

See the news blog for a recent collection of updates...


News update early January 2021

West Berks Council announces that Newbury Rugby Club is the preferred option for the new ground.

But will it pass the Sport England tests for a like-for-like replacement?

See the press release here

See the news blog for a recent collection of updates...


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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 and they did close it in June 2018.

 

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 with a high quality, flat grass pitch.

 

Despite the best efforts of Newbury FC's 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 8 artificial turf (3G) football 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, sport facility for the community with artificial pitches 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. It is merely a long-held aspiration of the council which it is doggedly sticking to without considering the evidence against it.

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!


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


7000+ people agreed and signed our petition!


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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.


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