CONSTRUCTION work on 167 flats and a new link road at the site of the now-demolished Sterling Cables tower is still some way off, according to the developer.
Work on the new apartment blocks and road linking Hectors Way and Kings Road cannot begin until the land at the former industrial site has undergone a full decontamination, which is not expected to begin until next year.
The demolition squads made short work of the 250ft “iconic eyesore” in Kings Road, Newbury, which was torn down in May, along with other buildings on the estate.
However, five months on, the site is still bare, with work seeming to have ground to a halt.
Developer Amirantes told the Newbury Weekly News that work is progressing and explained that a plan for the complicated process of decontamination could not be made until demolition works on the site were complete.
Benjamin Budd, of Amirantes, said: “Since the planning permission was granted, work has continued apace on the Sterling Industrial Estate site, with the demolition of all of the existing buildings bar one now being completed.
“This is a large project and as such we are taking it stage by stage.
“Our next major step will be the decontamination of the site, which we are now considering.
“This may take some time as it was not possible to ascertain a technical solution to decontaminate the site until demolition had been completed, and this solution must be agreed with the Environment Agency, but we hope that at some point next year we would be able to undertake this work.”
The scheme was approved by West Berkshire Council in April 2015 after a decade in the planning process.
The decontamination of the land was seen as a key benefit of the development, with council officers suggesting the site was the second most contaminated in the Thames Valley.
The site is contaminated with various chemicals, including hydrocarbons and ammonium from its use as the old gasworks.
The development itself will see the new one-, two-, three- and four-bedroom homes spread across eight apartment blocks, varying in height between three and eight storeys.
The new road will link Hectors Way, leading to Sainsbury’s, and Kings Road, while the widening of the Boundary Road bridge to two lanes will also be included in the project.
The delivery of the new link road, which it is hoped will reduce traffic on Kings Road and Mill Lane, is seen as a key objective of West Berkshire Council.
Because of the improvements to Newbury’s infrastructure and the decontamination, West Berkshire Council agreed in 2015 that no affordable housing need be provided at the site, while Amirantes’ request not to pay £685,000 in Section 106 developer contributions was also agreed.