THE controversial decision to evict Newbury Football Club and demolish their old club house has cost the taxpayer almost £250,000 so far.

West Berkshire Council kicked the non-league club out in 2018, to clear the way for the London Road Industrial Estate development.

The ground in Faraday Road, which was home to Newbury FC for 55 years, has been vacant since they left after the council’s redevelopment plans suffered a major setback in 2018.

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The council says it is “looking at options to build a new football facility” in Newbury and it will reopen the ground as “recreational space for community use” in spring 2021, until the regeneration gets underway.

But it has also hired contractors to demolish the club house, saying it is “in a dangerous condition and beyond repair”.

At a meeting of the council’s executive on October 15, councillor Ross Mackinnon, executive member for economic development, revealed how much the project has cost so far.

He said: “The total cost of the closure of Faraday Road football ground is £228,000.

“That includes the cost of demolition and the imminent work to convert the area into public open space (£191,000) – that’s the vast majority of that cost.

“There’s also the study on loss of football provision and the loss of revenue from Newbury Football Club, in terms of their activity and pitch hire.”

Newbury FC currently play their games at Henwick Worthy Sports Field in Thatcham.

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At Thursday’s meeting, there were also calls for senior Tory councillors to apologise for the mismanagement of the project to redevelop London Road Industrial Estate.

The redevelopment suffered a major setback in 2018, when the Court of Appeal ruled the council had breached EU law by failing to follow the correct procurement process when it appointed St Modwen Plc as the developer.

The council spent almost £950,000 on the botched redevelopment project and legal fees.

But Cllr Mackinnon said: “I don’t think an apology is appropriate.”

The Tory councillor said the council’s project management methodologies and processes “have improved a great deal” since 2018.