go

Newbury town centre supermarket to close to make way for new development

Demolition works expected to start later this month

Chris Ord

Reporter:

Chris Ord

Contact:

01635 886639

Newbury town centre supermarket to close to make way for new development

THE wrecking balls are preparing to get into full swing on a Newbury regeneration project which will result in the loss of a town centre supermarket.

Developer Eden Ltd intends to begin demolishing the now largely empty row of shops at Pearl House, 11 to 15 Bartholomew Street, later this month.

As a result, the development will see the Iceland store close at the end of December before that section of the building is torn down in January and February.

The frozen food specialist has said it is currently looking for alternative premises in Newbury. Director of corporate affairs at Iceland Foods Ltd, Keith Hann, said: “The Iceland store in Newbury will close on December 31, 2017.

“This is the result of our landlord terminating our lease to permit redevelopment of the site.

“We very much hope to continue trading in Newbury and have been looking for an alternative store site for several months now, but so far no suitable property has become available.”

Around 20 staff will be affected.

The supermarket had been due to close in July. However, bosses negotiated an extension until December 31, allowing the store to adjust staffing levels in preparation for its closure.

Mr Hann added: “We are currently in consultations with our store colleagues.

“We thank our many loyal customers in Newbury for their support and can assure them that we aim to return as soon as we are able to do so.”

The now tired-looking and dated Pearl House will make way for a new mixed retail and residential development opposite the Kennet Shopping centre with four new shops and 47 new flats.

Plans submitted last year would see the new building occupy four storeys, with the new retail units on the ground floor, and one- and two-bed flats on the upper three floors. Parking facilities for 47 cars and 93 cycle spaces will be provided.

The demolition is planned to begin on November 20 (once West Berkshire Council give approval) and is expected to be completed by the end of February 2018.

The regeneration of Pearl House received the backing of Newbury Town Council planning and highways department. However, members ultimately rejected the submitted plans owing to a lack of affordable housing.

In the planning application approved in August 2016, developer Lunar Retail SARL had included no affordable units in the scheme. The developer claimed through a viability assessment that if it were to include any affordable homes the site would no longer be viable – a claim that was backed by West Berkshire Council planners.

Pearl House was home to the Red Stores department store in the early 20th century before being redeveloped to make way for the Regal Cinema. A five-storey office block was built on the site and stood until the late 90s, before being partially demolished, leaving the lower floors, occupied until recently by a selection of retailers, including Wild Sports, Nail Bar and currently Iceland.

Leave your comment

Share your opinions on Newbury Weekly News

Characters left: 1000

Article comments

  • Tommy

    14/11/2017 - 18:06

    What this area desperately needs is more social / council housing, not luxury flats that only the well heeled can afford !!

    Reply

  • grumpy

    14/11/2017 - 13:01

    93 cycle spaces, how ridiculous

    Reply

    • EugeneStryker

      14/11/2017 - 18:06

      You're the type of person that simply doesn't like cyclists. In this type of development and it's likely target customer, cycle parking makes good sense. You should learn to ride a bike, get some exercise and fresh air. There are some really excellent ebikes for the elderly available.

      Reply

  • sdm36

    14/11/2017 - 11:11

    Do the council concede that Luxury flats in the town centre are unnecessary. I believe that many units in Park Way are still sat empty and have been since they were built? Then if you consider the housing list in West Berkshire which to my knowledge has some 11,000 entries on it and you can clearly see that building more luxury accommodation is a fruitless exercise with zero benefit to 99% of West Berkshire's residents. It's basically criminal if you ask me. If adding affordable housing into the project makes it unviable given the ridiculous house prices in the area then the developer is either not fit for purpose or seeking to take to much profit from the venture, either way not good for us and should certainly have been scrutinized further at the planning meetings. The council won't be happy until Newbury is a wasteland of empty luxury flats and all the residents live in the homeless camp in Speen.

    Reply

  • MikeyB

    13/11/2017 - 17:05

    takes the piss! this place delivers at a low budget its perfect for single parents! i am not just gutted but worried at the extra strain i will now face and others to.

    Reply

Show more comments

News

Man jailed following suicide attempt drama
News

Man jailed following suicide attempt drama

Peter Kelly abused would-be rescuer, court told

 
"Offensive" objections to muslim centre plans
News

"Offensive" objections to muslim centre plans

"It’s a sad representation of Newbury"

2comments

 
News

Pupils faint during half-hour assembly

6comments

 
All Districts

Help find Geordie

 
News

Overnight closures for M4 this weekend