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How to object to WBC’s planning application 30/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 22:21

How to object to WBC’s MUGA fence & lights at Faraday Road, either online:

or by email to: quoting reference 19/00814/FUL

(you can copy and paste the text below or make your own version)

For the following reasons, I strongly object to the
proposed development of 4 x multi-use games areas with replacement gates and
new fencing; 8 x new floodlights (replacing existing 6 x floodlights) at
Newbury Football Club, Faraday Road Newbury Berkshire RG14 2AD:

1. As a technical point, the address
is incorrect. The correct address is Newbury Football Ground, not Newbury
Football Club. The Council persistently misnames Newbury’s football
ground and by doing so leads the public to believe that use of the Ground is
(was) reserved for a private club. This is emphatically not the case, the
Ground is a public facility and, until closed by the Council without
consultation or supporting evidence) widely used by the footballing community
of Newbury.

2. The application affects a
registered Asset of Community Value, which given the circumstances (very strong
local support and evidence of need combined with protection under local and
national planning policy), the LPA should conclude is a material consideration
(para 2.20 of the DCLG advice). The assessment of materiality must be
reasonable and rational, taking into full account all of the circumstances:

R (oao Loader) v Rother DC [2015] EWHC 1877 (Admin): “at present
there is no direct case law on what weight is attached to ACV listing. The
weight to be given to any material consideration is a matter for the
decision-maker, subject to his decision being reasonable and rational in all
the circumstances.”

Banner Homes v St. Albans City Council [2016] UKUT 0232 (ACC) at para.
4, Upper Tribunal Judge Leverson “as a matter of planning policy any
necessary permission is likely to be refused while land is listed.”

There is no evidence to support the
application. By contrast, the ACV status and information submitted in
support of conjoined planning applications 18/00603/COMIND and 18/00064/OUT
(for a new fully equipped community football facility) provides strong evidence
that the Ground fulfils a very important function for the community as a
facility for organised football on full-size pitches and other amenities (as
described below).

3. The application fails to
consider the Council’s emerging playing pitch strategy, which (according to
evidence by Sport England and the FA) should conclude that the Ground as
currently configured (i.e. including a full-size pitch, stand, lighting,
clubhouse, changing facilities and fencing) is needed as a facility for
organised football.

4. The absence of changing
facilities will severely limit the practical use of the facility.

5. The reconfiguration of the
facility into MUGA is squarely at odds with the evidentially supported need for
a complete facility for organised football (as described above)

6. The application fails to
consider either the NPPF or Sport England’s planning policies for playing
pitches. It is therefore incomplete and invalid.

7. The application is to replace
an existing facility. Paragraph 97 of the NPPF applies:

Existing open space, sports and recreational
buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built on unless:
…..(c) the development is for alternative sports and recreational provision,
the benefits of which clearly outweigh the loss of the current or former use.

The application fails to include evidence to
satisfy this obligation. By contrast, NCFG has supplied extensive
evidence that the existing protected use for organised football is in very wide
demand and urgently required.

8. The application fails to
accord with the West Berkshire Core Strategy, particularly:

Area Delivery plan Policy 2: Existing community facilities
will be protected and, where appropriate, enhanced. These include leisure and
cultural facilities, which contribute to the attraction of the town for both

residents and visitors. Newbury Football
Ground is classified on West Berkshire Council’s Online Map as a Cultural
facility for Football.

CS18: Developments resulting in the loss
of green infrastructure or harm to its use or enjoyment by the public will not
be permitted.
Supporting text paragraph 5,124 defines Green Infrastructure
as Outdoor sports facilities and 5.129 names Newbury Football Ground (referred
to as “Newbury Town”) as one such protected facility.

9. The application fails to make
provision for a replacement facility, as required by Paragraph 97 of the NPPF
and CS18:

NPPF: Existing open space, sports and
recreational buildings and land, including playing fields, should not be built
on unless: …..(b) the loss resulting from the proposed development would be
replaced by equivalent or better provision in terms of quantity and quality in
a suitable location;

CS18: Where exceptionally it is agreed that an
area of green infrastructure can be lost a new one of equal or greater size and
standard will be required to be provided in an accessible location close by

10. Sport England’s planning
policies make similar demands that have not been met by the application, as is
confirmed by Sport England’s standing objection.

11. In land use planning terms,
the application is a change of use from a protected use. The application,
which does not include details of the playing surfaces (or other details) is
therefore inadequate and incomplete.

12. Section 14 of the application
form states that the Existing Use as a “Vacated sports venue, not currently in
use” and as a “Former sports venue for Newbury Football Club”. The former
statement is disingenuous and the latter is a falsification:

The Ground was made vacant only because the Council has locked up the
facility and prevented public use. But for its actions the Ground would
still be in use by the public as a football facility. The vacancy is
therefore a contrivance by the Council, which obviously breaches the principles
of planning land use.

The former use (which would be the current use but for the actions of
the Council) was as a public facility for organised football. The Council
is aware of this, not least because its lease to Newbury Football Club included
an obligation for said club to make the facility available for public
use. Irrefutable evidence of extensive use by the public has been supplied
to the Council and is available on .

13. The application is registered
as a minor application. An examination of the location plan reveals that the
site are is almost 1 hectare. The location plan excludes parts of the existing
ground and buildings that are certainly be affected by the proposed development
(e.g. demolition of the club house, etc.). Any development of land of
more than 1ha is a major application. The Council might be trying to rely
on permitted rights to demolish the buildings etc., but that would be a
contrivance that is clearly designed to reduce the site area. The stated
site area of under 1ha is a misrepresentation and the application is
therefore invalid.

14. The implementation of a
permission for the application would put the Council at a financial
disadvantage. This is a material planning consideration.

15. Whilst not necessarily a
planning consideration, the application breaches the Council’s Consultation
Policy, including (but not limited to Chapter 1: West Berkshire Council
(WBC) is committed to making sure decisions are evidence-based, taking into
account the views and experiences of residents and service users.
As a
matter of fact, no consultation has taken place.

16. Equally, the Council has stated
publically that the site will be redeveloped into flats in the near term.
Notwithstanding that such a claim would appear to be a pre-determination of a
future planning application, it must follow that the application for MUGAs and
associated infrastructure is for a temporary use. The application
does not make this clear.

WBC planning application for NFG 25/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 22:19

West Berks Council applies for planning permission for fencing and floodlights at the Faraday Road ground. See the Newbury Today article which mentions Sports England’s comments on how poor the application is here!

The stand is at HTFC 24/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 22:14

The Faraday Road stand has found its way to Hungerford Town FC, the last steel sections on its old site here:

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: quoting reference 19/00814/FUL

Multi-sports business case? 19/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 20:26

Letter to NWN from NCFG Chair Paul Morgan:

the 28th March I attended the West Berks Council meeting and at the Public
Questions I asked if the Council could share the business case for it’s latest
proposal for the football ground at Faraday Road. I asked the question because
I am struggling to understand why they would spend money on turning a needed
and previously heavily used facility into one that no-one has asked for and one
the Council has not consulted anyone about.

than answer the question openly and transparently, Cllr James Fredrickson took
the usual West Berks Councillor tactic of not answering the question and did
not outline the business case, he simply said “Yes, we will share the business

to say a full month later, we are still awaiting for him to share the business
case, why do our Councillors treat the community they are elected to serve with
such contempt?

Community Football Group

What’s left of the stand 01/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 20:24

A sorry sight (site!):

Tadley get council donation & letter to NWN 01/04/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 20:23

Letter from NCFG Press Officer Lee McDougall to Newbury Weekly News:

I read with great envy in last weeks NWN how Basingstoke and
Deane Council were funding £5,000 towards a football stand at a ground in

We have the complete opposite in West Berkshire where the
Council have taken a perfectly good football stand at our community football
ground in Faraday Road and REMOVED it!

They plan to re-open the ground as a bookable venue in the
Summer (originally it was September 18) but with a total disregard for the
children’s teams who may wish to use it (and the standard zero consultation)
parents will find they no longer are able to either sit or shelter from the
rain while they watch their children play or train.

The only possible glimmer of hope was that Cllr Cole finally
admitted at the Exec meeting on Thursday that the Council understood it’s
commitments to replace the ground should they get permission to redevelop LRIE
and the recent Press Release from WBC highlighted plans for a new FA Step 6
facility at Northcroft. A Step 6 Ground must have floodlights, 1.83m fencing surround,
a club house, parking, turnstiles and… a stand!

It is beyond comprehension that they plan to spend what I
conservatively estimate to be well over £1m on a football ground in Northcroft
to replace the one they have so very unnecessarily destroyed. I am sure a
change from a Tory dominated Council on May 2nd’s elections could provide a
Council more committed to its community and not deals with property developers
(both lawful and unlawful)

Lee McDougall
Newbury Community Football Group

See NWN article below:

We need independent review over LRIE case 19/03/19

News Posted on 01/05/2019 20:18

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.


An excellent letter from Peter Norman about WBC and London Road, see below

WBC announces next steps for LRIE & NFC 15/03/19

News Posted on 27/03/2019 20:52

From Newbury Today

Council reveals next steps for London Road Industrial Estate regeneration

Plans for Newbury Football Club also set out

See here

All taken from WBC’s news pages:

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