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Loungers given go-ahead for Newbury town centre

Permission for new café granted despite concerns of proliferation

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Loungers given town centre go-ahead

ANOTHER café is to open in Newbury despite concerns that it would jeopardise the town’s retail offering.

Food and drink operator Loungers Limited has been granted permission to turn the former River Island store in Northbrook Street into a continental-style café and bistro.

The Bristol-based company wants to create an informal, neighbourhood café feel, with longer opening hours than other outlets in the town centre.

West Berkshire Council’s approval for the scheme went against Newbury town councillors’ objections.

Town councillors had previously said that the change would be detrimental to Newbury’s shopping economy.

However, district council planners took a different view and said the new café would “promote a vibrant town centre” and was appropriate in the context of the commercial area.

The Loungers café will operate seven days a week, from 8am to 11.30pm on Sunday to Wednesday and 8am to 12.30am on Thursday to Saturday.

The eatery will offer no takeaway service and according to a design and access statement submitted by Loungers Ltd, will not play amplified music on the premises – although appropriate sound insulation measures would be fitted.

There will also be a variety of board games available, together with daily newspapers to read and a free neighbourhood book-swap facility.

At the council’s request, Loungers submitted details about the town centre’s make-up, covering 1 to 105b Northbrook Street, in December 2018.

The report said that 48 premises were classed as shops and retail, four as shop/food and drink and nine listed as other. 

Approving the scheme, West Berkshire Council said the café would not result in a concentration of non-retail units in Northbrook Street, but acknowledged that new cafés and restaurants had opened within the immediate vicinity.

It said: “In addition, the opening of the Parkway development has increased the retail offer for Newbury, as a result the proposed use is considered to complement the existing wider retail offer. 

“This concentration of non-A1 retail uses is however considered to be small in comparison with the wider town centre area.

“In addition it is considered that the existence of these café/restaurant uses will be driven by demand and competition in the long term.   

“It is acknowledged that the proposal will result in the loss of an A1 retail use within a primary shopping frontage, however it is further considered that the proposal will have some benefits for town centre vitality and viability by promoting competitive town centres that provide a diverse customer choice of services.”  

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Article comments

  • redhead

    23/04/2019 - 23:11

    who are these people that think they know best? do they even live in newbury to see we don't need yet another café but more retail like the councillors said!


  • paulGT11

    21/04/2019 - 09:09

    Quote "... the new café would 'promote a vibrant town centre' and was appropriate in the context of the commercial area." What Commercial area? There is hardly anything left EXCEPT coffee shops. The only way Newbury will attract customers who want to use the coffee shops is to have shops that people actually want to shop in.


  • Owen1

    20/04/2019 - 19:07

    Newbury will unfortunately NEVER be able to compete with the likes of Reading & Basingstoke. If it even wants to make an attempt to be like Reading or Basingstoke, then Newbury would have to be shut down for an eternity to draw customers in


  • NewburyLad

    20/04/2019 - 08:08

    Wow another shop where you can get coffee - how utterly original and exactly what Newbury is lacking.


    • Greenberet

      21/04/2019 - 09:09

      Just leave it empty then and let the homeless sleep in the doorway. Don’t worry about the jobs it will create


      • NewburyLad

        21/04/2019 - 17:05

        God there's always one who has to put a left-wing slant onto everything. Go and hijack someone else's comment, you leftard pinko.


        • Greenberet

          22/04/2019 - 09:09

          You politically illiterate moron. Where is my “lefty” slant? All you do is moan about everything with no solutions. So what shop would you rather be put there? A clothes shop that no one visits? Another betting shop? Or just leave it closed? Up to you. I suggest opening it as anything is better than keeping it empty. Isn’t encouraging business a right wing idea? Educate yourself thicko


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