Sat, 19 Jan 2019
PLANS for a new £2m bowling alley in Newbury’s Kennet Shopping centre have been backed by town councillors.
Superbowl UK wants to open the 14-lane 10 pin bowling alley, complete with laser tag and a children’s soft play area, in the former TK Maxx store.
The proposals were first revealed at the Newbury Vision conference in October.
If plans are approved by West Berkshire Council, the bowling alley is scheduled to open mid-2019.
The proposal marks what could be the start of a changing profile for the shopping centre with the inclusion of more ‘mixed-use’ units.
HIG Capital – the private equity investment firm that owns the centre – wants to include more leisure and lifestyle-led outlets in the mall in an attempt to readdress the balance between retail and leisure, to match changes in consumer spending.
According to a planning statement, advocates of the scheme say there has been “limited demand” from other shops and retail outlets to take the vacant space.
This proposed development aims to provide greater permeability across the southern part of Newbury town centre by increasing pedestrian connectivity to the railway station.
The proposal also includes the provision of a multi-storey car park that will increase parking spaces near Newbury railway station.
Town councillors discussed the scheme at a planning and highways committee meeting held on Wednesday, January 2.
The council’s deputy leader, Miles Evans (Con, Victoria), said the bowling alley proposal represented a vital opportunity to attract custom to the southern part of the town.
Pleased to support plans for a #bowling alley and Laser Tag in the @KennetCentre @NewburyTC, tonight— Miles Evans (@MilesWEvans) January 2, 2019
It's clear that the face of #retail is changing, with traditional occupiers consolidating and focusing online. A different offering is welcome. #Newbury pic.twitter.com/r4dplbLF6v
Mr Evans said: “We felt it was important to support something that Newbury has not had before and will hopefully bring a different group of people into the centre.
“The high street is changing and evolving. A lot of the big retailers have moved out of the Kennet centre – such as Debenhams and TK Maxx.
“It’s all we can do really – to support initiatives and ideas that are a bit different.
“Once this Market Street development is achieved over the next few years, the Kennet centre is going to be ideally placed for those people.”
West Berkshire Council planning officers are expected to make a decision on the proposal by Tuesday, January 29.
To view or comment on the bowling alley application, type the reference number 18/03193/FUL into West Berkshire Council’s planning portal.