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Major repairs to Victoria Park start this week

Town council will use £600,000 payout from Costain to fix cracks

Dan Cooper

Reporter:

Dan Cooper

Email:

dan.cooper@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886632

12-3614C Victoria Park

WORK to repair the subsidence damage in Newbury’s Victoria Park will finally get under way this week.

Cracks started appearing in the park and surrounding area shortly after developer Costain conducted water extraction works when building the Parkway shopping centre’s underground car park in 2010.

The cracks damaged sporting facilities in the park, including Newbury’s historic bowls club lawns and a nearby nursery school, and some residents complained of damage in their homes.

A five-year legal battle over responsibility for the cracks ensued, with the town council racking up legal costs in excess of £150,000.

Earlier this year Costain agreed to pay the council a £600,000 out-of-court settlement, which included all legal costs, but stopped short of admitting any liability for the damage caused.

Newbury Town Council will use the majority of that settlement to restore the bowling club green and tennis courts to their former glory.

It will then start repairing the boundary wall and dam-aged footpaths and hopes to have the work completed by next summer.

As part of the works to repair the bowling green, the ley-landii trees on two sides of the green are to be removed.

The council says it has been advised that these trees are damaging the green and its surrounds and should be removed before money is spent repairing it.

Some of the beech hedging, on the bandstand side, will also be removed to allow access for machinery, but the council says it will retain as much of the hedging around the green as possible.

Works to remove the trees will start on August 17 and will take around nine days to complete.

Immediately after the trees have been removed, extensive repairs to the bowls club green will start, which includes com-pletely resurfacing it.

Fencing will also be installed to make the green visible from Victoria Park and spoil from the greens will then be used to fill other cracks around the park, including the football pitch.

The council says the bowling green should be back to competition standard in time for the new season next April.

In a statement issued this week, the council said: “The bowls club are looking forward to these works and improvements and have ambitious plans for the future of the club.

“They plan to buy new equipment to look after the restored greens and have ordered new sponsored shirts to promote Newbury Bowls Club.

“They hope to double their membership after the greens are restored and aim to recover their status as one of the top bowls clubs in Berkshire.

“The council looks forward to working with the club to make these aims a reality.”

The council will appoint Avonmore Associates, which specialises in the construction, management and maintenance of high-quality sports field surfaces, including bowling greens, to carry out the work.

Newbury Town Council leader Dave Goff said: “At last we can carry out the repairs needed in the park and all of these works should be completed by next summer.

“By removing the trees around the bowls club, not only will we protect the greens for the future, but we will also open up the club to the community and make it more accessible.

“Many people don’t even know we have a bowls club in the park.”

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Article comments

  • Sainthamster

    15/08/2016 - 08:08

    Toilets in the park should be number one priority! taking kids in general is a headache as you have to round them up if one needs the loo and pray you make it to the wharf loo's in time. Even worse is taking a toddler to Vicky Park during nappy to toilet training, such a nightmare!!! I feel for pregnant ladies too who need to go more often.

    Reply

    • Westberkswalker

      15/08/2016 - 10:10

      Don't forget there are public toilets in Parkway (adjacent to Debenhams).

      Reply

    • sayitasitis

      15/08/2016 - 09:09

      Have you read the article?? The money was awarded to repair the substantial damage that was caused to the Bowling Club, the football pitch and paths etc so that's the priority. £150,000 of it pays back the Councils legal fees as well making even less to go round. Everyone else seems to manage so I'm sure you can.

      Reply

      • SimonKirby

        SimonKirby

        15/08/2016 - 19:07

        Though in point of fact the now-demolished toilet block that stood feet from the Park Way fence was quite obviously suffering from subsidence and is a good candidate for rebuilding with the settlement money, whereas the poor bowling green surface is, as the Council admit, caused in large part by the tall adjacent conifers and by the Council's previous instruction to the bowls club to stop winter dressing the greens, so there is much less justification in spending the settlement money on the bowling club. The Council also have no viable plan to reinstate the park toilets because the present Tory administration have (rightly) declared that the £800k cafe vanity project, inherited from the previous Lib Dem administration and providing replacement toilets, must be cost-neutral to the tax-payer and there is no credible business plan to show how a prospective cafe operator can grow the cafe business and afford the £40k interest payments on the Council's capital loan.

        Reply

        • grumpy

          16/08/2016 - 09:09

          Why do we need another café in the park, there is loads across the road in Parkway shopping centre, and in the wharf. Don't waste money on this, let the park just be a park

          Reply

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