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No to 'visually jarring' Mayors Lane plan

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Plans to demolish the Motorists Discount Centre on Mayors Lane in Newbury and build a three storey apartment block have been refused by West Berkshire Council.

The proposal site, next to the Empire Cafe, was considered ‘visually jarring,’ causing harm to the character and appearance of the street.

In refusing the plans, the council said the proposal fails to conserve or enhance the designated heritage asset of the Newbury Conservation area, adding that the plans lacked parking provision, and that it would result in on-street parking and reversing on nearby roads.

A CGI impression of the new apartment block
A CGI impression of the new apartment block

The application had been put forward by Woolbro Group – a family-owned business specialising in residential development – which had argued that the development would create “much-needed centrally located” apartments in Newbury town centre.

Six of the units would be two-bed, with the remainder one-bed flats.

There would, however, only be two parking spaces created, to the west of the site.

A CGI impression of the new apartment block
A CGI impression of the new apartment block

The applicant had argued that two is “deemed acceptable given the central location of the development, with access to services and facilities within a short distance, including the local station within a two minute walk”.

There would also be a 16 cycle parking spaces created in a secure storage facility at the back of the development “which is adequate to meet the demand of the site”.

However, council planning officers disagreed, saying the lack of parking “would result in on street parking/reversing movements on nearby roads and put a reliance on public car parks both of which are at or near capacity, adversely affecting road safety and the flow of traffic”.

The application had also been objected to by Newbury Town Council, which said the building wasn’t “sympathetic to the conservation area and [was] overbearing the neighbouring building”.

Mayors Lane
Mayors Lane

The site is adjacent to the 232-home Market Street development, which will comprise of nine residential blocks, a 497-space multi-storey car park and 180 resident parking spaces.

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