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'Restaurant quarter' plans for Kennet Centre approved

New look would improve 'vibrancy and vitality' of town centre

'Restaurant quarter' plans for Kennet Centre approved

THE first step in rejuvenating Newbury’s Kennet Shopping centre by creating a ‘restaurant quarter’ along Cheap Street has been given the go-ahead.

West Berkshire Council said that the new look of the shopping centre would, on balance, “act positively on Newbury town centre as a whole, aiding its vibrancy and vitality”.   

The council added that opening up the section of the south east corner of the centre and altering Cheap Street shop fronts would significantly improve its appearance.

Considering the impact of the plans, the council said that a number of units could remain vacant for some time if the application was rejected.

The council added that the majority of units would remain as shops but the application would not create an unacceptable concentration of restaurants in the centre.

Five or six new restaurants will be located along the Cheap Street side of the centre.

The Prohibition bar and restaurant closed in February and Chenz is to have its lease terminated later in the year.

Speaking to the NWN when the plans were announced, centre manager Mag Williams said: “We want to bring good quality restaurants to the Kennet centre but haven’t identified any in particular yet.

“I think Vue [cinema] will be pleased.

“ They feel that, apart from Nando’s, who have been brilliant, there isn’t enough of an offering around the cinema to stop people going to Reading or elsewhere.”

The Kennet Shopping centre, which opened in 1972, already has a food offering, including Nando’s, BooBars Smokehouse, Subway and Boswell’s Café. 

Nelson’s Diner and Gourmet Burger Kitchen have also moved into the centre in recent months.

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Article comments

  • Racegoer

    20/07/2017 - 10:10

    The Cheap Street end of town is dying, as is the Kennet Centre. I note several existing restaurants have closed as well as the Post Office. More restaurants will not be the sole answer but are a start. Look at the footfall on Northbrook Street compared to the Market Square and Cheap Street - 10x as many people, mainly due to the Parkway centre. If it cannot complete for high end shops then perhaps a redevelopment with a mix of flats and entertainment is the answer?


  • sdm36

    18/07/2017 - 10:10

    Why is the Kennet Centre owned by a business registered in the Bahamas?


  • Bombey

    17/07/2017 - 16:04

    Hilarious. Close two local independent restaurants to create 5 units for chains. Correct me if I'm wrong, but hasn't the KC already got 4 restaurant units that have been empty since they were built? Surely leasing them is a better plan. Still as Newbury becomes a dormitory town we'll need endless chains...


  • Darrin666

    17/07/2017 - 13:01

    About time we had some restaurants, how about some coffee shops when they're at it.


    • NewburyLad

      17/07/2017 - 20:08

      We could do with some more hairdressers, charity shops and book makers as well. Really short of those kinds of shops.


      • Justin S

        18/07/2017 - 09:09

        These shops cant support the council with the massive rates charges for the property. I believe charity shops get a reduction ? But then that's not money in the councils pot. There is no real aspiration to have alternative shops in the town and becomes the same town centre as every town. Shopping on line has damaged these kind of shops, but you cant by lunch on ebay, which is why restaurants are popular.


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