News update 22/06/18

NCFG’s response to WBC’s complaint reply

Dear Mr Carter

Thank you for your reply.

I am surprised that you have responded to this email as one of my main reasons for sending it to Richard Turner was to establish which department in WBC will be responsible for bookings after 24th June 2018.

As stated in my email, Richard made a statement, when we met in April 2018, that it would be his department who would, in all likelihood, be responsible for the pitch and other facilities (i.e. club house, changing rooms etc.) at Faraday Road moving forward. Your email does not address or clarify this position. I’m sure that booking requests will not come via your office – as such please can you be kind enough to provide clarity as requested.

You may recall that Lee McDougall sent you an email in October 2017 asking you directly to provide clarity on how bookings will be made at Faraday Road after 24th June 2018. I know that Lee has sent you a number of reminder emails since October asking you to provide a response and still almost 8 months later we still do not have clarity.

You say in your response that you intend to “carry out a detailed inspection of the premises and then publish our plans for the future use of the site in September”. This statement itself raises a number of questions, listed below, which I hope and trust that you will provide a response to:

1) It is difficult to understand why you will need up to 3 months to inspect a facility that has been used every week for 10 years and by doing so has met all the FA and H&S requirements. Please can you clarify what the detailed inspection will entail?

2) If you have always intended to undertake a detailed inspection why have you not done this before now?

3) The inspections and other activities mentioned by you do not require the facility to be closed. Please can you confirm that access can and will be provided by WBC from 1st July 2018 onwards.

4) WBC had been on notice but ignored that the football community is willing and able to maintain the facility whist the Council undertakes its surveys and develops its plans. Please can you review this offer of help and agree to the meeting request at the end of this letter.

5) The Council’s current course of action have caused essential equipment to be removed from the Faraday Road site that will need replacing, presumably at public cost. Surely this could and should have been avoided if WBC had been open to working in conjunction with NCFG?

6)This lack of clarity with respect to overall availability (what will be available and when) and how the facility can be booked and maintained has m eant that a number of teams who would have named Faraday Road as its home ground have not been able to due to league submission requirements. We also know of other teams who may need to able to list Faraday Road as a home venue but need the availability and clarification of the facilities that will be provided confirmed in the next 4 weeks. Again, please refer to the meeting request at the end of this letter.

7) The Council has had over three years to put in place a plan for this facility. Up to now WBC has not engaged in any consultation with existing or potential new users. Please can you confirm that the very community that uses what the Council now acknowledges is a community facility will be consulted well in advance of WBC publishing “our plans for the future use of the site in September”

The Faraday Road pitch and stadium is by far the best football facility in the area and it is everyone’s interest to ensure that the standards and facilities are not diminished. Our concern is that over the next few months, due to inactivity and lack of any ongoing maintenance the facility will not receive the attention required that will allow first class football and social events to take place from August when the season starts.

On a positive note I am very encouraged that you say “We are seeking to maximise community use of the facility until it is required for redevelopment” On this positive note can we please arrange a face to face meeting over the next 2 weeks to discuss our concerns and to help you to ensure that your plans for the future use of the site has the support and input of the footballing community of Newbury. As previously stated NCFG are willing and able to help in a number of ways, including keeping the ground and grass in a playable condition over the next few months.

I will call before the end of this week with a view to looking at possible slots over the next 10 days for a face to face meeting with you and your team.

Best regards

Paul Morgan (on behalf of NCFG)