Plans to convert Newbury office blocks to flats are withdrawn
Developer temporarily halts Overbridge Square plans
CONTROVERSIAL plans to convert more than 60, 000 sq ft of office space in Newbury into flats have been temporarily withdrawn by the developer.
The applications, submitted to West Berkshire Council in July, sought to establish if prior approval was needed to turn five office blocks at Overbridge Square Business Park into more than 100 apartments.
However, on Friday a request to withdraw the applications for all five buildings was made by London-based developer Overbridge Development Ltd.
According to planning documents, the developer had been unable to provide all the information requested by the council’s senior environmental officer.
It is understood the proposals will be resubmitted when the developer has further information on noise impact and potential ground and water contamination.
Overbridge Development Ltd is hoping to carry out the conversion under Permitted Development Rights, which means it would not have to apply for planning permission.
However, before being withdrawn, the plans, which would see the business park turned into one- and two-bed apartments, had attracted opposition from both Newbury Town Council and Greenham Parish Council.
At a meeting last week, Newbury town councillors said residential properties should not be permitted in what is an industrial area, while other members felt the development would cause additional traffic and parking in an already busy area.
Neighbouring business owners had also objected to the plans owing to fears the conversion would have a negative impact on trade and have argued the right to claim compensation for any loss in earnings.
Owners of engineering firm Arrow Castings Ltd, which is situated adjacent to the site boundary, labelled the application “unjust and unfair”, while claiming locating apartments nearby would mean the business would have to limit its hours of work.
Objecting to the application, Graham and Victoria Robertshaw said they chose the location for their business as it was “within an industrial and commercial zone”.
The letter of objection continued to say: “At the moment, we enjoy the fact that we can go about our business without having to worry about upsetting our neighbours, however, if we have residential neighbours, this will limit our working conditions.”
The plans were confirmed to have been withdrawn as of Tuesday.