Options for future management of the former
Newbury Town Football Club.
Currently the pitch is in a very poor condition. Like other grassed areas and sports
pitches the recent drought has had an impact. I have instructed our contractor to
begin cutting the grass and to irrigate the pitch. There will however need to be a
period of restoration/autumn maintenance in advance of a full years use.
The area surrounding the pitch is not safe and there is no possibility of opening the
site as a Multi-Use Games Area (MUGA) for public use without the area to be used
for this purpose being fenced off from the rest of the site. Note however that MUGAs
almost always have high fencing surrounding the site in order to contain footballs
and the activities of those using the facility, the following link is an example of a
range of facilities similar in size to the one proposed for the former NTFC: http://www.trevormay.co.uk/mugas.asp?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI7em63r-
The advantage of fencing the MUGA on its perimeter is that the MUGA is then
isolated from any activities on the surrounding land, so any demolition works, or
construction works, abandoned equipment and features associated with the former
football ground can be dealt with whilst the MUGA is operational.
Low fencing is desirable between the 2 pitches. Current Limitations
Grass pitches clearly are not pre-marked in the same way that artificial surfaces are
and this presents some difficulties in marking out for a range of sports games;
netball, 5-a-side, hockey etc. It’s not impossible to do so, just more difficult, and of
course more expensive. It is suggested that we start with 5 a side and then
determine demand from other sports over time.
There is uncertainty over floodlighting, i.e. the condition of the current floodlights or
whether there is potential for replacement floodlights to allow use of the site in the
evenings. Without floodlights the facility can only be used daytime. Floodlighting
increases the options for evening use and maximising income generation. This
report is based on providing the basic minimum to get the proposal off the ground.
The facility is unmanned, therefore solutions have to be found to allow
individuals/groups to access the facility. Solutions are available however. One such
solution is Clubspark, an IT solution which allows venues to be booked and access
provided using unique access codes (operates at Victoria Park tennis Courts): https://clubspark.com/
Without a system like this there are security issues to overcome.
There are two possible options, note that both operations require a perimeter fencing
solution of some kind.
Manage the whole area, currently a football pitch, as a MUGA and open it to the
public on a ‘free to access’ no booking required, basis. This provides a facility which
serves the whole community. The MUGA will require suitable fencing at 3m or 4m
(preferred) high, which allows the MUGA to be self-contained and independent of the
rest of the site.
The facility can be marked out with 2 no. 5 a side pitches with goals and nets and
possibly an area for families to sit and watch children play.
The pitch will require ongoing maintenance to include; regular cutting, autumn and
spring maintenance, irrigation on occasion, pitch marking, daily visits and security
As option 1 but the MUGA is booked in advance (preferred). The facility can be
hired to clubs for training purposes and for 5 and 6 a side, for all age groups from
juniors’ upwards. We will receive an income towards its maintenance and to offset
other management costs. There is no wider ad hoc community use.
Access to the site is controlled in a similar manner to the tennis courts at Victoria
Park. This is operated using a mobile app booking system which provides a unique
code to access the location. How this operates requires further investigation but it
appears to be suitable for small, enclosed venues and allows a hands off
management approach to bookings. There is an opportunity to discuss this
requirement with the proposed online booking software provider currently being
considered by IT colleagues.
There are advantages and disadvantages in both options.
Advantages: Wider community use permitted which fits with the general message we
discussed regarding this site.
Disadvantages: It’s going to be difficult to control the use to which it is put. There
will be long periods during the daytime on weekdays, when there will be very little
public use and therefore could attract unwanted antisocial behaviour. There will
have to be some security visits daytime and evenings in order to manage activities
and open and lock the facility. Actually getting kids out of the facility could be a
Advantages: The booking system removes any concerns about security and
antisocial behaviour. The site will only need occasional security visits in the
evenings. The option may well prove to be less expensive to manage. As the site is
locked until the user arrives this reduces the security requirement. there will be
income from bookings to offset costs.
Disadvantages: Community use is limited to those who book, mostly organised
teams, with reduced access by the wider community.
Expenditure (£) Expenditure (£)
(one off costs)
Fencing with gates
Fencing with gates
@ 4m. (preferred
Goals, nets and
pitch, i.e. hoses
and watering points
bring up to
* £10,000 -
* Based on an income of £35 per pitch, max 4 games per day on each. All
year use daytime. Figures given are approximate and allow for periods of
Further work is required on these options. Should option 2 be preferred then we can
start out with a bespoke booking system in the short term until a more robust system