Councillors are expected to agree to start consultation on a new multi-sports stadium for Newbury on Thursday (January 14).
West Berkshire Council has identified Newbury Rugby Club’s Monks Lane ground as the preferred site for a new venue which will be used for rugby, football and other sports.
The council’s executive will be asked to agree the authority can enter negotiations with the rugby club to lease the land, which includes the pitch, car parking and space for new buildings, at the January 14 meeting.
The council wants the redeveloped stadium to include an artificial pitch, seating, floodlights, changing rooms and hospitality and be ready by March 2022.
It will also serve as replacement for the former Faraday Road home of Newbury Town FC which closed to allow regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate.
Cllr Howard Woollaston, executive member for leisure and culture, said: “Having spent some time looking for a site for a new sports ground I’m delighted we now have somewhere which could meet the community’s needs.
“It will provide improved sports facilities for local sports groups and will be capable of hosting higher level competitive football and rugby matches, as well as year-round training.
“It is a site for the whole community, for amateur as well as more professional teams and able to 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 exercise for people who enjoy sports.”
David Jones, president of Newbury Rugby Club, said: “As landlord, Newbury Rugby Club will be seeking to underline our continued objective to be a key community sports club for Newbury and surrounding area, developing modern facilities and improving our long term sustainability.
“We are very supportive of the council’s objective to offer sporting opportunities for all age groups locally and we already have 600 playing members at the club.
“The proposal from the council, we hope, will align with the continued development of rugby and the wider development of sport in the Newbury area.”
A report by Consult QRD had looked at three sites. Council-owned land at Northcroft in Henwick was discounted due to planning issues and a site called The Diamond at Pigeons Farm, Greenham has been earmarked as second option if Monks Lane does not progress.
If the Monks Lane scheme progresses on January 14, the consultation will be uploaded to the council website at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/consultations
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