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Artist impressions reveal first ideas for Market Street revamp

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But developer has not yet revealed an estimated date for scheme delivery

UNDER proposals for Market Street, which are expected to be lodged later this year, Newbury could see the development of 250 residential homes, as well as commercial and office space.

Formal plans to revamp a 5.5- acre town centre site, running between Newbury railway station and Market Street, including the bus station and Highfield Avenue, have not yet been submitted, but it is thought further information on the scheme could come to light next month.

Further parking at the station and improved pedestrian links to the town centre, as well as enhancing the gateway into the town for rail passengers, are also expected to be included in the plans, at an estimated cost of £50m.

These artist’s impressions are the first to be published in the public domain – available on the district council’s website – and while they only represent draft plans at this stage, they show some of the initial ideas for taxi ranks and dedicated drop-off points, new areas of public open space and improved links for cyclists and pedestrians to and from Newbury station, Cheap Street and Bartholomew Street, and into the rest of the town centre.

The leader of West Berkshire Council, Gordon Lundie (Con, Lambourn) said: “We are hoping to move forward with the development agreement this year.

“We are waiting for a planning application to come in so we can get some sense of what they are looking to do with it.

“It’s going to redevelop that whole area of the town.

“The railway is the entrance into Newbury for so many people and it really doesn’t show Newbury in the way that other areas do.

“We have got to regenerate people’s experiences when they come in on the train.

“We have got the electrification of the line, too, so it’s a good time to be improving this gateway into Newbury.”

The site has been earmarked for development since 2006 and was outlined in West Berkshire Council’s Newbury Vision 2026, a document which sets out aims and ideas to improve the town.

However, the appointment of developer Grainger sparked controversy when it was revealed that the land, currently owned by the taxpayer and valued to be worth £3.9m in 2013, was to be given away at no cost.

A petition against the development, launched by then Newbury Labour spokesman Richard Garvie, gained more than 230 signatures over a two-day period.

When approached by the Newbury Weekly News, Grainger declined to provide a comment or any further information on its Market Street plans at this time.

To view more information, visit West Berkshire Council’s website at http:// info.westberks. gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=30524

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