A ROW over parking which had threatened the future of Newbury’s historic market seems to have been resolved.
West Berkshire Council will allow market traders to park their vehicles in the Northcroft Lane West car park after proposals to make them park more than a mile away from the town centre were criticised.
Those who run stalls on the Thursday and Saturday markets can currently use allocated spaces at the coach station at The Wharf – just seconds walk from Market Square.
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 local authority had been concerned about losing parking revenue from its town centre car parks if spaces were to be given to traders at the rates they currently pay.
However, an offer to allow them to park at Newtown Road came in for heavy criticism from Newbury town councillors, as well as traders themselves, with some saying the move could spell the end of the market.
West Berkshire Council spokesman Martin Dunscombe said: “We have offered market traders the use of the Northcroft Lane West car park once building work begins on the new bus station.
“This has been met with a positive response and we are now discussing some minor, practical details with the town council and market traders to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.”
Speaking at a recent meeting of Newbury Town Council community services committee, Elizabeth O’Keeffe (Lib Dem, Victoria) said she supported the move but raised issues over access and safety as traders come and go from the car park.
However, committee chairman Howard Bairstow (Con, Falkland) advised market managers wearing high vis jackets would be on duty to oversee the process on each market day.
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.