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Council reveals next steps for London Road Industrial Estate regeneration

Plans for Newbury Football Club also set out

WEST Berkshire Council has announced the next steps in its plans to regeneration of the London Road Industrial Estate in Newbury.

The council will soon publish a development brief alongside an indicative masterplan for the area before carrying out a public consultation.

The local authority has also ended months of uncertainty by confirming that it will turn Newbury FC's former Faraday Road football ground into a multi-use games area this summer.

Newbury FC will play its home games at Henwick Worthy Sports Ground in Thatcham next season.

Redevelopment of the London Road Industrial Estate has been a long-term vision for the council and was first discussed as early as 2004, but the controversial project has been hit by a series of delays and costly legal challenges.

Last year the Court of Appeal ruled that the council had entered into an unlawful agreement with developer St Modwen.

The council was found to have breached EU law by failing to follow the correct procurement process and the development agreement, signed in 2015, was subsequently declared ineffective.

Following this, a property consultant was appointed to advise the council on the best way to proceed with the regeneration.

This has been completed by Alder King and is now available to read online.

Following the advice from Alder King, a new document called the London Road Industrial Estate Development Brief will be prepared alongside an indicative masterplan for the site.

The council said this will set out key information including principles for redevelopment, planning policy and how the land might be used.

It will also guide all development within the regeneration area regardless of whether the land is owned by the council or not.

The council says a public consultation on the plans will be held before it makes any decision on how best to deliver the regeneration.

The process of appointing a consultant to deliver this work will begin shortly.

Since refusing to renew its lease at Faraday Road, the council has been working in partnership with Newbury FC to find a new home in the town.

As a result of this a number of arrangements have been put in place:

•Newbury Football Club will play at Henwick Worthy Sports Ground for the 2019/20 season

•New changing rooms will be installed by Newbury Town Council in Victoria Park and are being funded in part, by a £45,000 contribution from West Berkshire Council

•New football facility as part of planned investment in Northcroft Leisure centre

Until the regeneration begins, the Faraday Road football ground will re-open in early summer as a multi-use games area.

It will open up the facility to wider community use with four pitches which can be used for a variety of sports and leisure activities such as five-a-side football, sports coaching and circuit training classes.

The site, which is currently closed, will be available for community use seven days a week and booked online with a fee for hire.

Work is expected to begin on the multi-use games area in the next few weeks.

Speaking about the plans for the London Road Industrial Estate, Rick Jones, West Berkshire’s executive member for culture and leisure said: “Since we first announced our plans for London Road, things have moved on, so we’ll be taking a fresh look at what we might do with this area and will invite local people to have their say on our plans.

“We are absolutely committed to delivering regeneration of the London Road area for local people.

"This area remains a key part of our vision for the town. It will join Parkway and the new Market Street development and become a real asset to the district.

“We are also working closely with Newbury Football Club to ensure they find the right home from which they can continue to grow and offer a great football provision.”

Newbury Football Club chairman Keith Moss said: “After a difficult year off the pitch we are glad to be working short and long- term with West Berkshire Council to enable this club to progress and move forward, but most importantly, get back playing football in Newbury.

"We will continue to work with West Berkshire Council going forward and thank them for the help and support.”

Newbury FC manager Danny Langford said: “We have got through this year at Brimpton, now we can look forward to progressing to the next league.

"My plan for the football club over the next few years is to return to step 6. I’d like to thank West Berkshire Council for their support in helping us towards this goal.

For more information about the regeneration of London Road Industrial Estate visit www.westberks.gov.uk/lrie

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