Friday, April 12, 2024

Newbury’s “Eagle Quarter”: Developers hit back

Developers behind the repeatedly thwarted attempts to build multi story blocks of flats and a new shopping centre in Newbury say the latest rejection is bad for the town.

West Berkshire Council officers took the decision to refuse the latest application for 367 flats in multiple blocks on the site of the Kennet Shopping centre.

“We are somewhat taken aback by the refusal as we have spent a lot of time talking to all involved and have made reductions and amendments to our proposals with a view to working cooperatively with all parties to gain approval,” said Sarah Ballantyne-Way, Lochialort planning director.

“We fail to understand that given the overriding desire to see the Kennet Centre redeveloped and given the considerable benefits that would result from the redevelopment the council issued a delegated refusal, without even taking it to committee.”

The council refused the latest application, which had seen a reduction of a total of three storeys across the planned blocks.

It said the scale and height of the buildings would be over bearing and dominant, essentially agreeing with the conservationists point of view that the development would ruin the character of Newbury.

Lochialort is now considering its options after it was third time unlucky with its plans.

“It has been estimated that the town loses between £8 to 10 million a year as a result of the failure to see this site redeveloped, let alone the detrimental effect to the environment,” added Ms Ballantyne-Way.

The existing building emits 3,040 tonnes of carbon a year and the new buildings only 326 tonnes.

“We believe that this is the wrong decision and one which reflects badly on some of the consultees.

“We will review our position in light of the decision, but from our point of view it is a bad one for the town and the wider area.”