THE first step in rejuvenating Newbury’s Kennet Shopping centre by creating a ‘restaurant quarter’ along Cheap Street has been given the go-ahead.
West Berkshire Council said that the new look of the shopping centre would, on balance, “act positively on Newbury town centre as a whole, aiding its vibrancy and vitality”.
The council added that opening up the section of the south east corner of the centre and altering Cheap Street shop fronts would significantly improve its appearance.
Considering the impact of the plans, the council said that a number of units could remain vacant for some time if the application was rejected.
The council added that the majority of units would remain as shops but the application would not create an unacceptable concentration of restaurants in the centre.
Five or six new restaurants will be located along the Cheap Street side of the centre.
The Prohibition bar and restaurant closed in February and Chenz is to have its lease terminated later in the year.
Speaking to the NWN when the plans were announced, centre manager Mag Williams said: “We want to bring good quality restaurants to the Kennet centre but haven’t identified any in particular yet.
“I think Vue [cinema] will be pleased.
“ They feel that, apart from Nando’s, who have been brilliant, there isn’t enough of an offering around the cinema to stop people going to Reading or elsewhere.”
The Kennet Shopping centre, which opened in 1972, already has a food offering, including Nando’s, BooBars Smokehouse, Subway and Boswell’s Café.
Nelson’s Diner and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have also moved into the centre in recent months.