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New plans to revamp Newbury's Kennet Shopping centre are submitted to West Berkshire Council

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Owner says comprehensive redevelopment would include a mix of homes, shops and restaurants

Newbury's Kennet Shopping centre could be transformed into a mix of homes, shops and restaurants under new plans submitted this week.

Lochailort Newbury Ltd has submitted two virtually identical planning applications to West Berkshire Council for a comprehensive redevelopment of the mall.

The plans will see the outdated centre transformed into a dynamic mixed-use high-quality, sustainable development featuring 402 new multi-family build-to-rent apartments and private sale homes.

The scheme will also deliver 30 flexible shops, restaurants and co-working spaces, with a focus on attracting local, independent and artisan businesses.

The difference between the applications is that the first features plans for a an incubator hub that will provide flexible space for high-tech and start-up businesses, as well as a HQ office building.

The second application includes proposals for a senior living development of 91 apartments, complete with residents’ amenities on the ground floor.

In acknowledgement of Newbury’s industrial history, the development will be named Eagle Quarter, after Plenty’s Eagle Iron Works, which was previously on the site.

Lochailort managing director Hugo Haig said: “We are incredibly excited about these plans, which will replace this outdated and underused shopping centre with a high-quality new mixed-use scheme that will bring huge benefits both locally as well as to the wider community.

“Our aim is to rejuvenate this area of Newbury and provide an exciting and interesting leisure experience, with a diversity of offers; shopping, food and convivial activity to the town centre, that will complement the town and the region as a whole. We believe that the experience of living in Eagle Quarter or coming to watch a movie or eat a meal in the development will be a really attractive place to be.

“We are fortunate to have this once-in-a-lifetime chance to create a special place, in a special town – somewhere we all would like to hang out and spend time, somewhere that people want to come to and Newbury can be proud of.”

One of the key features of the regeneration scheme is the creation of a connection back into the town, with new streets providing pedestrianised links between the train station, Market Place and the town centre.

The development will also create a number of landscaped public spaces and outside areas that will be used in conjunction with the restaurants, cafés and shops.

Other features include a new health centre, as well as an on-site residents’ gym, squash court, meeting rooms, dining rooms, and garden terraces and residents’ lounge.

The plans also include the retention and enhancement to the existing Vue cinema and food area, improvements to the multi-storey car park, with the provision of an additional floor of parking and more electric vehicle charging points.

From the outset, Lochailort said, sustainability has been a key consideration for the scheme.

It said is has worked hard to ensure the development will reduce CO2 emissions following West Berkshire Council’s declaration of a climate emergency and the overall scheme will save more than 250 tonnes of carbon a year.

In addition to solar rooftop panels, ground source heat pumps, tree planting and open spaces, the development will use sustainable energy solutions in place of fossil fuels, which are estimated to make a saving of 2,557 tonnes of CO2 per year as compared to the existing building.

Lochailort planning director James Croucher said: “Submitting a planning application represents the next step in our plan to regenerate the Kennet Centre.

“We are very grateful for all of the feedback that we received from residents and local businesses following our public engagement event in October.

“These views were incredibly helpful and many of them were taken into account.”

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