Probe launched after Newbury FC's clubhouse destroyed by fire

WATCH: Mary Stanley reports from Newbury. She talks to Lee McDougall and Paul Morgan from the Newbury Football Community Group.

An investigation has been launched into the cause of a blaze which destroyed Newbury FC's former clubhouse on Faraday Road.

The blaze broke out in the early hours of Saturday and firefighters from across West Berkshire, Hampshire and Wiltshire responded.

In total, around 40 firefighters attended, and at one stage, they pumped water from the Kennet and Avon Canal.

The Faraday Road ground was controversially closed in 2018, after the council, which owns the land, decided to develop the site.

The clubhouse was completely destroyed Credit: David Marsh

But the ground has remained untouched, with those against the development accusing the council of deliberate neglect.

On social media, members of the Newbury Community Football Group, who have long campaigned for football to return to the town, wrote:

"It is devastating to see the burnt ruins of the Clubhouse at Newbury Football Ground and we hope nobody has been hurt or injured by the fire.... In 2018 the ground and clubhouse was fully operational and used every week by members of the public. It had electricity and CCTV cameras installed. Within 2 years the ground had become a dangerous risk to the public and within 3 years, burnt to the ground."

A sign put up by campaigners at the clubhouse during Euro 2020 Credit: Newbury Community Football Group

They are now calling for the the council to re-instate the site as a football club and bring football back to Newbury.

  • WATCH ITV Meridian's 2016 report on the closure of the Faraday Road site

West Berkshire Council urged people to stay away for safety reasons.

"We're aware of last night's fire at the former Newbury Football Club and have made immediate arrangements to secure the site," it added.

They said a further statement would come when more information was known.

The clubhouse in 2018, before the ground was closed Credit: Newbury Community Football Group

The club, which famously nurtured the talents of a young Theo Walcott, currently plays home games at the Lambourn Sports Ground.

Theo Walcott as a youngster at Newbury

There are plans for a new ground to be built near Newbury Rugby Club in Monks Lane.

Opposition councillors have called for the Faraday Road ground to be retained for football use.