PLANS that had threatened the future of Newbury’s historic market – which dates back to the 13th century – look set to be scrapped.
West Berkshire Council caused outrage when it announced proposals to make market traders park more than a mile away from the town centre and walk in.
Currently, those who have a stall at the Thursday and Saturday markets can park their vehicles in allocated spaces at the coach station at The Wharf.
However, West Berkshire Council’s decision to relocate Newbury bus station from Market Street to The Wharf will result in those spaces being removed.
The district council was concerned about the loss of car parking revenue which might result from allowing traders to park in a town centre location for the rates they currently pay.
The only alternative the council had put forward was for traders to park in Newtown Road and walk into town.
Many traders – and even Newbury Town Council – wrote to West Berkshire Council to express their concerns.
Michael and Emily Broun, who have the egg/farm shop stall, said: “In our opinion, if this proposal is implemented, it will draw an end to Newbury Market as we know it now, and several traders have suggested they will leave.”
But now, following a meeting between Newbury Town Council and West Berkshire Council, a agreement has been reached in principle to allow traders to park in a central Newbury car park.
James Fredrickson, who sits on both councils, said: “It is a really good resolution.
“We reviewed feedback from traders and have come to an agreement that by at least the time work gets under way on The Wharf, we will have secured parking in central Newbury for traders.
“There are some legal issues to be resolved, such as bylaws around parking bays and some vehicles taking up more than one space, but that should all be sorted in the coming months.”
Newbury Town Council chief executive Hugh Peacocke said: “The outcome of the meeting was that parking is going to be provided in the town centre.
“When finalised, the solution would be cost-neutral for West Berkshire Council and be in place by April 2017.
“We are hopeful of finding a satisfactory solution now we have got more flexibility and cooperation from West Berkshire Council.”
The market has a long history in Newbury and it is believed to have been in place since Anglo-Saxon times.
Earliest records show that a toll was received from the market in 1205.
A Royal Charter was granted in 1596.