Bid to pause London Road Industrial Estate project in Newbury is rejected

Phased approach to redevelopment will go ahead as planned

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
  • 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…