Transcript of questions tabled at recent West Berks Council Executive meeting.
(b) Question submitted to the Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Communications by Councillor Lee Dillon (asked on his behalf by Councillor Alan Macro): Question: “Why will the Council not enter into a short term lease with the Newbury Community Football Group for use of the Faraday Road site?” The Portfolio Holder Economic Development and Communications answered: Thank you Councillor Dillon and Councillor Macro. As the appeal case regarding the wider London Road Industrial Estate redevelopment has now been heard, the Council wants to have the flexibility to commence redevelopment as quickly as possible. This is why no long lease with any organisation is being provided for the site. As for the group that you referred to in your question, it is a kind offer regarding them taking the lease and managing the site. However, we believe the Council is still best place to manage the site, given it already manages multiple similar sites and also carries public service obligations so is best place to make it available to as many groups as possible. We also want to be in the position where we can make sure that we can commence the redevelopment as quickly as possible when the time comes. However, I still want to be very clear, the group itself and the organisations is represents are of course more than welcome to utilise the site and that is exactly the purpose of what we are doing here, we want to make that site available for as long as possible, right up until the point of redevelopment, because I completely understand that no one wants to see that site, not being available to the public, ahead of the wider redevelopment. So we intend to make it available for as long as possible, right up until the point when we are starting to invest in the site. The Chairman asked: “Do you have a supplementary question arising directly out of the answer to your original question. A supplementary should be relevant to the original question and not introduce any new material?”
The Chairman asked: “Do you have a supplementary question arising directly out of the answer to your original question. A supplementary should be relevant to the original question and not introduce any new material?” Councillor Alan Macro asked: “There is currently a football ground there and a stadium, my understanding of the Council’s plans is for a MUGA which I presume means that the current facilities will be demolished. Whereas the group’s proposal is to keep it as a football ground?” The Portfolio Holder Economic Development and Communications answered: So in response to that, let me just be clear, there is a football club which had the previous lease and there is a group of separate representative communities, and it is important that we are distinct in regards to those two and then with regard to the Council. The Council at the moment is conducting an assessment of the site, as it has to do if it takes on any entity that it then wants to make available to the public, so considerations with health and safety and relevant insurance and making it generally safe for the public to use. That is now Page 7 Page 6 of 10 what is going on, the results of that assessment, I believe we are committed to making that available in September and I don’t see any problem with that timeframe. That will set out what makes sense for the site to be made available for the purposes that we have talked about here. We will have to wait on what the result is of that study, I am not going to be drawn on what that will result into. It will literally be however the Council making it safe and available to as many groups as possible.