A SCHEME to regenerate an area close to Newbury town centre has moved a step closer after the developer was given permission to clear the site.
Plans for a six-storey, 232-home development at Market Street were given the go-ahead last year.
The development will also see the construction of a new multi-storey car park, providing almost 500 car parking spaces, as well as the relocation of the bus station to The Wharf.
West Berkshire Council and developer Grainger have now finalised the Section 106 agreement, which outlines what financial contributions will be made.
All surveys have now been carried out and last week the council gave the green light for preparation work to take place.
A spokesman on behalf of Grainger said on Tuesday that the developer had not yet set a definite timetable for the works.
The ‘urban village’ will see the face of Newbury town centre’s southern gateway changed forever.
The 5.5-acre site, just north of Newbury railway station, has been earmarked for development since 2006, with the council including the regeneration of the area in its planning document for the town – Newbury Vision 2026.
The scheme became the subject of controversy when it was revealed that the land, which the council previously owned and valued at £3.9m, was given to Grainger at no cost.
Serious concerns have also been raised over the low number of affordable homes included in the project – developer Grainger had proposed just 13 units (5.6 per cent).
A viability assessment to justify the shortfall has been accepted as Grainger said that a higher amount would make the scheme unviable.
Approving the plans, the council said: “The scheme will provide an impressive gateway into Newbury from the train station, which will help promote and enhance the existing town centre.
“The proposal will also improve the quality of the retail and other services available in the town centre, provide housing, create long-term employment and attract further investment in the town centre.”