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Proposal for a New Sports Pitch at Manor Park, Newbury

Have your say on the proposed grass pitch

Consultation status Archived
Start date: 2022-04-27
End date: 2022-06-26
Results 2022-09-30
Category: Health and Wellbeing, Leisure, Parks and Countryside

Activity closed. Results published

Women playing football in West Berkshire


Our Icon for pdf Playing Pitch Strategy [1MB] , approved in February 2020, provides an analysis of supply and demand for playing pitches (grass and artificial) in West Berkshire. The strategy was produced in partnership with Sport England and the four national governing bodies for football, rugby union, cricket and hockey.  We worked with local sports clubs to understand the current and potential future demand for artificial and grass pitches, and assessed the quality of existing sites in the district.

We've viewed the development of playing pitches in the context of the Icon for pdf Berkshire West Health and Wellbeing Strategy [10MB] , Icon for pdf Leisure Strategy [6MB] and Icon for pdf Environment strategy [3MB] . We wish to support everyone, particularly those people that are not currently partaking in active leisure, to get involved and enjoy the benefits, and are seeking ways of improving accessibility and variety of opportunities.

As a result of the analysis undertaken, we found that there is a shortage of grass playing pitches, especially for youth teams. Local sports clubs are expecting more people to want to take part in activities, and a growth in demand coupled with not enough places to play, will mean that we won't be able to maintain the quality of the pitches. Both the supply and demand for football facilities is dominated by the east of the district and Newbury and Thatcham sub-areas, which are home to the majority of the large clubs, as well as a number of the strategic football sites, such as Henwick Worthy Sports Ground, Thatcham.

What we are proposing

To develop a new grass pitch at with:

  • A level pitch that would be suitable for local league competition
  • Drainage to minimise disruption in usage
  • Toilet facilities (open during bookings)
  • Up to 30 additional parking spaces made using cellular concrete blocks which allow grass to grow through them

There would be no floodlighting, and it is anticipated that it would be used for sport mostly at weekends, unless there is high demand for weekday use, and for a maximum of 6 hours per week during the football season (September to May). The site would still be accessible for informal recreational pursuits and dog walking at all times.

The line markings would be based on the needs of local teams, e.g. adult or junior sized pitch.

Why is this site being considered?

It has been identified that there is a high demand for football and rugby in the Newbury and Thatcham area, and the site is owned by West Berkshire Council.

Paul Hendry (Countryside Manager) talks about drainage, public access and conservation concerns that have been raised about the proposed site.

Why we want your views

We'd like to find out the level of support for this proposal, and understand any concerns you may have.

We'd like to know if you have any suggestions as to where future sports pitches may be located as we continue to review and update the data that informs the Playing Pitch Strategy.

We're also asking if local teams would be interested in playing on a new pitch in Newbury, and what kind of teams, e.g. adult, youth, under 7s etc. would use the pitch, and at what time of day.

How to take part

If you'd like to take part you can do so until midnight on Sunday, 26 June 2022. It should take about five minutes. 

A public webinar with Councillor Howard Woollaston (Executive Member for Housing, Leisure and Culture), Paul Hendry (Countryside Manager), Jim Sweeting (Sports and Leisure Manager), Paul Martindill (Interim Consultant (Leisure)) and  STRI UK (Sports turf consultant) was held at 5pm on Thursday 23 June 2022 to discuss the issues that have been raised so far during the consultation, and answer your questions.

You can watch the recording on our YouTube channel, and Icon for pdf read the questions posed and answered [75KB] .

For queries about this consultation, or any general questions about the Playing Pitch Strategy, please email Paul Martindill.

What happens next

All feedback will be taken into consideration and a recommendation report will be considered by the Culture and Leisure Programme Board who will make a recommendation to elected Members later in the year.

What you told us

We received a total of 430 responses to the consultation, 407 from individuals, and 23 from Sports Clubs, Community Organisations and businesses.
66% of those that answered the question felt that it was important for the council to address the shortage of sports pitches in West Berkshire. However 59% of respondents, the majority of whom live near the proposed site, disagreed with the proposal and their main concerns were:

  • Increased traffic
  • Noise
  • Incompatibility with dog walking
  • Parking
  • Impact on wildlife habitat
  • Anti-Social Behaviour
  • Flood risk
  • Site management
  • Loss of quiet green rural space
  • Oil pipeline
  • Cost of scheme
  • Appropriate consideration of other sites.
  • Disruptive to residents

In comparison the clubs and sporting bodies, who represented a total of 76 teams, strongly agreed with the proposal.

What we did

We’ve took all the feedback into consideration, and carried out further surveys to understand the impact a sports pitch at Manor Park may have, and to determine if the issues raised by residents can be mitigated. Please view the webinar where these concerns were discussed.

At the Executive meeting on Thursday, 21 September 2023, a report was considered by elected Members and they resolved to not progress with a planning application for the creation of a sports pitch at the Manor Park site, and to explore alternative locations for the creation of new sports pitches.

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