Tue, 03 Jul 2018
‘NEWBURY, the crossroads of Southern England’ is the official slogan which will soon be emblazoned on signage around the town centre.
It is one of several measures included in the Newbury Town Plan for 2019-2036, which was adopted by members at a full council meeting on Monday evening.
The plan covers all areas of public life and is intended to set a direction for the town for the next 20 years.
As well as covering the whole of the Newbury settlement boundary, the document is also designed to inform and influence the next issue of the West Berkshire Council Local Plan, addressing the years 2019-36.
The plan includes setting up a monitoring panel which will oversee its development and keep its six main strategic objectives in check.
Retaining Newbury’s character, promoting its historic identity, developing the town as a major leisure, culture and business hub and providing for residents’ health needs are among these main aims.
It also provides guidance for the planning and highways committee when considering future applications.
A public consultation helped shape the plan and was considered by a steering group which comprised of several external local councillors and experts.
Representatives of the parish councils of Enborne, Greenham, Shaw-cum-Donnington and Speen were co-opted on to the group.
Issues raised for consideration in the consultation included a health and wellbeing centre in an accessible location for those who would benefit from its services, such as homeless people and those with mental health problems.
The group agreed with suggestions that there should be a separate pedestrian and cycle bridge over the railway, leaving the A339 bridge clear for road traffic.
It was also decided that the development of public transport to Oxford, Southampton, Salisbury and Winchester should be an important objective.
And there was wide agreement that an eastern bypass running north of Thatcham and Newbury to connect the A339 from Basingstoke with the trunk roads north of Newbury should remain a major objective to work towards.
There were also suggestions to completely pedestrianise some parts of the town centre, and more recycling bins should be installed.
Of the 108 responses, 71 were completed online and 28 at a public coffee morning held at the Town Hall on February 24.
There were also nine separate written responses to the town council.
Anthony Pick, the town council’s planning and highways chairman (Con, St John’s), said: “This is the first Town Plan of its type that we have seen in West Berkshire.
“It is more comprehensive and covers every aspect of public life and will provide a forward direction for the town over the next 20 years.”
Speaking more generally about the town’s slogan, Mr Pick also said: “I hope it indicates that Newbury will be and will continue to be a centre of innovative ideas for development.”