Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Town council joins the fight against Kennet Centre plans

Newbury Town Council will be fighting against the developers appealing for planning permission for high rise development at the Kennet Shopping centre.

In May of this year, West Berkshire Council refused planning permission for redevelopment proposals up to nine storeys high.

Since then, the developers have appealed this decision to the planning inspectorate.

“While the town council would love to see the Kennet Centre redeveloped, the current proposals were way too high and out of character for Newbury,” said Gary Norman, (Lib Dem, East Field), leader of the council.

“As the only democratically elected body representing the people of Newbury, we feel that we have a duty to fight against the proposed development. It is clear to all of us that there is very strong local feeling against the proposals.

“We have told the planning inspectors dealing with these appeals that the scale of the proposed development would irreparably ruin the existing character of Newbury.

“We are also concerned that the height of the proposed development would have a seriously detrimental impact on the town centre conservation area and the listed buildings nearby.

“As well as that, there are already too many apartments in Newbury, and we need a more diversified housing supply.”

Nigel Foot, (Lib Dem, Clay Hill), the mayor of Newbury and chairman of the council’s planning and highways committee, will also be involved in the appeal and the fight against this development.

“I am very pleased that the planning inspectorate has made the town council a party to this appeal. We are the voice of Newbury, and we will make sure that they know the level of opposition to this development.

“As well as the evidence which West Berkshire Council will present, we will be telling the inspectorate how the proposed development contravenes the Newbury ttown centre masterplan, the Newbury town design statement and the findings of our surveys for our neighbourhood development plan.”

He added: “We are also delighted that the Newbury Society will be joining us at the appeal.

“The society has great expertise in heritage and conservation matters and they will demonstrate how the development would have such a serious impact on the town centre conservation area.

“We would also like to thank the society for the great work they are doing in collecting signatures for their petition opposing the redevelopment, which already numbers more than 2,000.

“We are all for the redevelopment of the Kennet Centre and for boosting the economy of the southern end of the town, but we must do so in a way which is acceptable to the people of Newbury and enhances the character and offer of our town centre.”

The actual hearing of the appeal is scheduled to commence on October 10 and could last up to five working days. The appeal decision is expected to be issued on or before November 14, 2023.

You can add your name to the petition using the following link: https://chng.it/6tM7V9zV96