Mon, 01 Apr 2019
CONTRACTORS could start work on Newbury’s 232-home Market Street development by the middle of next month.
Engie Regeneration, the main contractor for creating the ‘urban village’, said it is “probable” works will get underway by mid-April, subject to various permits and conditions being met.
Work on the project – which will involve dramatically altering the town’s southern gateway with a series of multi-storey apartment blocks built between Newbury railway station and Market Street – was originally scheduled to start in early January.
But due to utility diversion delays – which developer Grainger was responsible for – it is hoped contractors will now be on site in April, Newbury Town Council’s planning and highways committee was told this week.
In addition to the 232 apartments – which will comprise of nine residential blocks – the scheme will also provide a 497-space multi-storey car park, 180 resident parking spaces and new parking for the Quaker (Friends) Meeting House.
There will also be an improved station approach road and a new echo circle in its existing location north of the council offices.
Town council members met on Monday to hear updates on the development, which is expected to be carried out in five phases.
Particular concern was raised over the volume of two-way traffic that would be coming up Mayors Lane and round a corner into Highfield Avenue.
Further questions were also asked over traffic flow from a temporary car park, which will be installed above the old bus station specifically for district council employees.
The two-storey temporary car park will be built once some asbestos is removed at the bus station, before the site is handed over to Engie.
Engie design manager Kieran Hodge told councillors priority would be given to vehicles turning into the car park in order to ease the backlog of traffic on to Highfield Avenue – a situation which could last anywhere from one year to 18 months.
John Gardner (Lib Dem, St John’s) also quizzed Mr Hodges over barriers which are currently in place along Market Street, which he said were “knocked all over the place the other night”, making signposting for pedestrians difficult.
Mr Hodges admitted that he was not satisfied with the barriers at present, but said this was an issue Grainger was responsible for.
The architect added that Engie had a recent complaint about bags of spoil left outside the Quaker (Friends) House.
Mr Hodge said: “We’re very conscious of health and safety and helping the public.
“This is a joint scheme between Grainger and West Berkshire Council.
“We’re proud of it and we want you to be proud of it.
“We’ll do everything we can to stop this type of complaint from coming in.”
Mr Hodge told councillors he hadn’t considered using the railway line to transport spoil from the site, but later conceded this was unfeasible as it would have to take place outside the 6am to 8pm window to avoid disrupting commuters.
The town council’s deputy leader Miles Evans (Con, Victoria) said: “I share the concerns of nearby residents and call on the developer to work with the community to limit disruption, including taking a fresh look at using the adjacent rail line to remove rubble and spoil from the site.
“This would reduce the impact on our already busy town centre road network.”