Demolition begins following fire at former Newbury Football Club ground

West Berkshire Council say the demolition of the former clubhouse is to go ahead on urgent public safety grounds

West Berkshire Council has commenced demolition works at the former Newbury Football Club following a fire at the site on 13th August. The demolition works are set to be completed by the end of the weekend.

The work is being undertaken by local contractors following an assessment by the council's Building Control which deemed the remaining structures to be a risk to public safety in their current state.

The council say undertaking the work at this time 'represents the most cost effective course of action for taxpayers given the additional costs of securing a hazardous site'.

It is a blow for members of the Newbury Community Football Group, who have long campaigned for football to return to the town, who wrote on social media following the fire:

"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."

The scorched remains of the clubhouse. Credit: ITV News Meridian

West Berkshire Council say it will continue with its plans to seek planning permission to make the former football ground available to the community for recreational use and this application will be heard by the District Planning Committee on the 8th of September.

Commenting on the demolition, West Berkshire Council's Leader, Councillor Lynne Doherty, said: "The fire at the former football ground was regrettable and we have worked closely with the relevant authorities since the incident, including in bringing forward the demolition of the former clubhouse on urgent public safety grounds."

"In its current state the site presents a risk to the public and we have acted quickly to prevent further access to the site and to demolish the remaining buildings on the professional advice of Building Control and where the Health and Safety Executive have advised we must be guided by Building Control."