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Market Street 'urban village' redevelopment edges a step closer

Council's flagship scheme set for approval despite 'unacceptable' lack of affordable housing

 Market Street 'urban village' redevelopment edges a step closer

A WEST Berkshire Council-backed scheme to build 232 houses and flats in Market Street, which will see Newbury bus station moved to The Wharf, looks set to be approved next week.

The 5.5-acre site has been earmarked for development since 2006 and forms part of the council’s over-arching planning document for the town – Newbury Vision 2026.

The council said the scheme would create employment and improve the image of the area. 

But controversy was sparked when it was revealed that the land, which the council previously owned and valued at £3.9m, was given to developer Grainger at no cost.

And concerns about the local authority’s flagship scheme have come from within the council itself. The plans have gone through two revisions following concerns from the council’s housing, transport and waste and recycling departments, as well as Thames Valley Police.

The amount of affordable housing has been described as unacceptable, with only 12 of the 232 homes (5.6 per cent) being affordable. The council’s own standard is 30 per cent.

A viability assessment to justify the shortfall has been accepted as Grainger said that a higher amount would make the scheme unviable. 

The scheme also falls short of the council’s car parking requirement of 228 spaces. However, as the site as viewed as a sustainable location, the council says that figure is unlikely to be required.

A new multi-storey car park is being proposed as part of the development, which will address the shortfall by allowing residents and council staff to park in it. 

The council report prepared ahead of Wednesday’s meeting 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.”

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Article comments

  • NewburyResident

    18/11/2016 - 15:03

    Nick Narter and his crew get more free parking, WBC give away valuable assets for free, no consideration for the public of Newbury. Normal for Newbury SNAFU


  • Oldmoaner

    18/11/2016 - 10:10

    A VISION? Gateway To Newbury, Long Term Jobs? this is the latest con from West Berkshire Council. All apartments to be rented out to commuters and all owned by the developer. A car park for residents and of course WBC. This area really is to become a large apartment hotel. But of course through the high rise prison you can see the Town Hall clock. Councilors should reject this and develop the site themselves with an integrated transport hub and affordable housing for the people of Newbury and West Berkshire. Mr Rackman moves to Newbury!


  • PhilW

    18/11/2016 - 09:09

    The sparcity of social housing is an appaling indictment of this development - especially coming at a time when the dire national failure to build this class of home is in the news. WBC should be ashamed to be associated with this development. Added to this is a failure to provide adequate parking provision - when the real need is for a substantial increase in parking for the railway station.


    • Tommy

      18/11/2016 - 14:02

      What, build council houses in Newbury whatever next !!!


  • grumpy

    18/11/2016 - 08:08

    Please rename it - Urban Village sounds awful (sounds like a war zone). Why can't you call it Newbury Gateway :-)