A DEVELOPER is looking to increase the height of a building in Bartholomew Street to accommodate more flats in Newbury town centre.
Plans have been submitted proposing to add a fourth storey on to the currently vacant Southbrook House (formerly the home of Bar Sport) in order to convert the upper floors into 16 apartments.
Developer Emarek Ltd aims to use the ground floor space in the Bartholomew Street building as a restaurant or retail outlets.
Such projects will add to the transformation of the town, as developers look to build more residential units in and around the centre of Newbury, led by the approved 232-home Market Street ‘urban village’ development.
Plans to build 47 apartments, as well as new retail units, across a four-storey development at Pearl House, opposite the Kennet Centre were also recently given the green light.
In July, West Berkshire Council gave Emarek Ltd the go-ahead to convert the offices across the upper two floors at Southbrook House (more than 1,000sq m) into flats, under permitted development rights.
The initial plans said the apartments would mainly be one-bed.
However, the latest planning application from the Northampton-based developer now wants to develop 10 two-bed apartments and just six one-bed apartments, meaning another storey is needed to accommodate the larger dwellings.
No affordable housing will be included.
The plans will also include a four-storey stairwell added to the rear of the building and 17 residential car parking spaces, with a further 10 spaces for the restaurant/retail units.
The application states: “Careful consideration has been given to the design components of the proposed development to ensure that it does not sit prominently in the street scene, and does not harm the significance of any designated heritage assets.”
The premises have been empty since May 2015, when franchisee C-Tag Leisure Ltd, which formerly traded as Bar Sport Newbury, entered administration – less than 18 months after opening the venue.
The building was damaged by fire in May 2016.
Plans to bring it back into use have been supported by Newbury Town Council.
However, members of the planning and highways committee last week objected to these newest proposals, saying the application had been “inadequately thought through”.
Elizabeth O’ Keeffe (Lib Dem, Victoria) raised a number of concerns, including the level of parking, and provisions for cycle storage and refuse collection, as well as requests for an archaeological survey of the site, which had not been addressed.
Members voted to object to the plans at the meeting last Monday evening.
A decision on whether the development can go ahead will be made by West Berkshire Council in the coming weeks.