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Complete redevelopment of Newbury town centre site approved

Council gives go-ahead for Bartholomew Street flats

Chris Ord


01635 886639

Plans for 47 flats in Newbury centre opposed by town council

PLANS to regenerate part of Newbury town centre with new shops and 47 flats have been given the go-ahead.

West Berkshire Council has this week approved proposals that would see Pearl House, opposite the Kennet Centre, undergo a complete redevelopment.

Developer Lunar Retail SARL is looking to demolish all of the existing buildings on the Bartholomew Street site and erect four new retail units on the ground floor, with 47 one- and two-bed flats on the upper three floors.

The four-storey development will also provide parking facilities for 47 cars and 93 cycle spaces.

Giving the development the green light, West Berkshire Council planners say the it will bring economic benefits to the town, despite the loss of more than 1,500 sq m of retail space, while the loss of what they call “the unattractive facade” of Pearl House will be a “substantial” improvement to one of Newbury’s main shopping streets.

The plans for the flattening of the brutalist building were also welcomed by Historic England.

However, the government body said the developer had failed take to the opportunity to “create a really fine building” to go in its place.

Earlier this year, the regeneration of the town centre site had been welcomed in principle by Newbury Town councillors, although members ultimately objected to the proposal owing to the lack of social housing included in the development.

West Berkshire Council policy states that at least 30 per cent of the homes should be affordable, however, the developer is proposing to include no affordable housing at all.

Lunar Retail SARL has claimed through a viability assessment that if it were to include any affordable homes the site would no longer be viable – a claim that has been backed by council planners.

Pearl House was previously home to the Red Stores department store in the early 20th century before being redeveloped to make way for the Regal Cinema.

A five-storey office block was built on the site and stood until the late 90s, before being partially demolished, leaving the lower floors, currently occupied by a selection of retailers, including Wild Sports, Nail Bar and Iceland, that exist today.

The development of the site must start within the next three years.

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Article comments

  • Carling

    12/08/2016 - 19:07

    Really pleased to see this part of Newbury developed. It's a positive step and continues the improvements to Newbury we have seen over the years.


  • Racecourser

    11/08/2016 - 23:11

    When will the council realise that 1 parking space per flat is just not practical in most cases. One person could work in Basingstoke and one in Thatcham...2 cars needed. How many councillorsorsillarsors are members of 2 car families?


  • grumpy

    11/08/2016 - 09:09

    93 cycle spaces ??? how ridiculous - be better if there was more car parking.


    • RedGail

      11/08/2016 - 13:01

      93 cycle spaces that will no doubt not be secure so all the bikes will be vandelised and stolen at somepoint anyway. Ridiculous we can't cycle into town for fear of losing our bikes in broad daylight locked up to designated cycle spaces. Grr.


      • grumpy

        11/08/2016 - 14:02

        Your missing the point, why have 93 cycle spaces for a 47 flat development - that suggests that each flat will have 2 cycles. Highly unlikely don't you think ?? But the chances are some of the flats may have 2 cars, and only 1 parking place per flat ?


        • EugeneStryker

          12/08/2016 - 14:02

          If someone requires 2 or more parking spaces outside their flat and these particular flats do not provide that, they should look elsewhere to live. Or, if you want to live in this development, buy a bike. Cycle spaces make up part of the infrastructure that will encourage increased utility cycle use. If WBC also invested in decent joined up cycle infrastructure, the inevitable increase in cycle journeys would mean less congestion and quicker journeys for those who cycling is not appropriate, less air pollution, increase in local good health etc A better local environment, in which cycling plays a large part, is shown to increase house prices and encourage businesses to stay in or locate to an area. You do not need to take my word with it, the internet is awash with rigorous scientific research proving as much. I am not naive enough to ignore the developer's profit motive in this decision, but for the reasons above if it means less cars and more cycles then all the better.


        • grumpy

          12/08/2016 - 14:02



        • EugeneStryker

          29/08/2016 - 20:08

          Which bit? All of it? If you do not want your world view challenged by subject matter experts, then the best advice is to refrain from posting ill conceived comments on a public forum. When people are asked to describe the best environment they would like to live in, it rarely involves the type of car congestion often see around Newbury. Google 'cycling fallacies' to start your education.


  • SeniorMoment

    11/08/2016 - 08:08

    Is this the land WBC gave away ? The problem with the planners saying they are happy is that this is the same planning department that lied to councillors over the Faraday Road Plaza. Their lies have cost us tens of thousands of pounds