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Consultation on new sports ground facilities begins

West Berkshire Council is consulting residents on its plans for a new sports ground in Newbury.

In particular, the Council would like to know whether local people support the proposal and the construction of an artificial pitch, the facilities they'd like to see at the ground, and whether they feel this new ground will give them more opportunities to get involved in sport and physical activity.

The feedback will inform the details of an application for planning permission, should the Council proceed with the proposal.

Newbury Rugby Club has been identified as the preferred site for the facility which would include a high-quality artificial grass pitch, stadium, floodlights and changing room as well as a function room. It would be available for community use for rugby, football and other sports and activities.

The Council's Executive met on 14 January and agreed to begin formal discussions with the Rugby Club, with the aim of opening the sports facility in March 2022.

The new facility will help deliver the Council's Playing Pitch Strategy, and provide a Step 6 facility - which means teams would have the facilities needed to play in higher leagues. It would also serve as a replacement for the Faraday Road Sports Ground, which closed ahead of the regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate.

Speaking about the proposals, Councillor Howard Woollaston, Executive Member for Leisure and Culture said: "It is very exciting to see this project moving forward. The new sports ground will be a site for the whole community, for amateur as well as more professional teams and could be used for a wide variety of sports.

"We want to encourage more opportunities for people to take part in physical activity and this will help provide new options for people wanting to exercise or play sport. We're looking for feedback from residents to help us to create the best possible facility."

Details of the consultation, which is open for six weeks (18 January to 28 February) can be found here.

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