Sent: 22 September 2018



Subject: Spectator stand removal from Newbury Football Ground

Dear Nick,

I am the deputy chair of Newbury Community Football Group
and this letter is for your attention, but I have also copied it to other
interested parties for openness, clarity and publication (please see cc

Regarding the application by Hungerford Town FC to demolish
the large, seated, covered spectator stand (which has been a permanent
structure for around 25 years) at Newbury Football Ground, Faraday Road, please
can you read the background and ownership-related statements below and then
respond to the questions which follow?


NCFG’s primary objective is to save the football ground and
retain it for its purpose of organised football matches at the higher levels of
league football where a top quality playing surface, pitch & perimeter
fencing, floodlights, changing rooms, WCs, clubhouse and spectator stands are
required. Removal of the stand greatly reduces the ground’s ability to function
and is effectively a “change of use”. Note that it achieved a higher
ground grading than F (National League System step 5) before the council
removed the tenant’s security of tenure, thus excluding the tenant club from
joining high leagues and there is still no planned site development for some
years to come.


Newbury Town FC had the stand erected before they folded in
1995 after which time the ground assets remained the property of the council.

AFC Newbury FC leased the ground from the council from 1996
until they folded in 2007 and again the ground assets remained in the council’s

Newbury FC leased the ground from 2008 until 2018 and when
they were evicted in June, the ground assets still belonged to the council, as

The various council’s football club leases mention the stand
as the landlord’s asset.

West Berks Council lists the land and permanent buildings on
its asset register.

There has never been any mention of the stand belonging to
our NCFG partners Newbury FC in previous correspondence since NCFG formed in
late 2015.

Cllr Anthony Pick (chair) at the recent Newbury Town Council
planning meeting on 10 September stated that WBC owns the stand.

WBC’s Asset of Community Value lists the stand as an
integral part of the protected ground, also covered by cultural facility and
green infrastructure policies.

WBC’s response to NCFG’s stage 2 complaint in late August
stated that there were no plans to demolish any part of the facility.

The above statement was made round about the same time as
HTFC’s notification to demolish.

The prior notification in early September by HTFC to
demolish suddenly changed on 29 September to no longer needing planning
involvement which WBC was fully aware of.

WBC no longer receives rent from NFC and it would appear
that WBC is about to sell a protected asset.


Given the above statements, please can you present proof to
NCFG of:

1. who owns the stand and why/how it may have changed hands?

2. who has the authority to allow it to be dismantled and

3. who is selling or releasing the stand and for how much?

4. who has been in contact with HTFC, NFC or their
representatives regarding the demolition?

5. the council’s intent to replace the stand, should it be

We have around 2000 local supporters through our online and
paper petitions, around a 100 of whom attended our recent public consultation,
who support NCFG’s efforts to enhance the ground for future use. They are all
voting, West Berks constituents and would be keen to know what the ground’s
landlord/building owner has to say, as would the Football Association, Sport
England and HTFC (who regrettably find themselves in the centre of this

To conclude, we believe that the stand cannot be touched
until these questions have been answered with proper evidence by WBC so, as
their main spokesperson on this matter, thank you in anticipation of your
timely, full reply.

Yours sincerely,

John Stewart

NCFG Deputy Chair