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Plans submitted to revamp Newbury's Waterside Centre

New climbing tower and viewing gallery proposed

John Herring

John Herring


01635 886633

Plans submitted to revamp Newbury's Waterside Centre

THIS is what Newbury’s Waterside Centre could look like if plans to renovate it are approved.

BBY Waterside Ltd has applied to refurbish and partially demolish and extend the facility, which dates back to the 1960s. 

The refurbished community and youth centre would provide a range of activities, including rock climbing, dancing and canoeing.

Existing services would also be upgraded to provide suitable heating, lighting and wi-fi.

Among the proposed features are a new climbing tower and a two-storey viewing gallery/café for public use overlooking the main hall and Kennet and Avon Canal.

West Berkshire Council acquired the canalside building when Berkshire County Council dissolved in 1998 and, until recently, used it to provide support to the most vulnerable young people in the district.

An agreement was reached with Bradfield College, the Bradfield Club and Berkshire Youth earlier this year to bring about the long-awaited refurbishment. 

Planning documents say that the condition of the building fabric has “contributed to the centre’s underuse in recent years and extensive modernisation is now required in order to get the building back into a condition which is fit for its purpose”.

The current standard of the building fails to comply with current building regulations, the documents continue, resulting in “poor services for the community of Newbury”.

The applicant adds that the improvements would also add value and enhance  the experience for West Berkshire’s growing community. 

In documents submitted with the plans, it says: “This application proposes to refurbish, upgrade and extend the deteriorated existing building in order to bring it in line with current standards and regulations, allowing Berkshire Youth to carry out its mission to serve the community of Berkshire, as well as educating and developing young people in order to help them to grow to full maturity as individuals and members of society.”

The new climbing tower would stretch to 14.5m, which would allow it to “act as a visual cue for the centre as well as the surrounding retail units”.

No new parking will be provided, with the application saying that there are already a number of car parks serving their relative retail/office units.  

It adds that there is potential for a new footbridge to the east of the centre, which could be covered in a separate planning application. 

A decision is expected to be made by West Berkshire Council by August 28.

Meanwhile, the application can be viewed in full by entering 19/01672/FUL into the planning search facility on West Berkshire Council’s website. 

The council said earlier this year that the Bradfield Club would purchase a 50 per cent share in the centre from the council.

Berkshire Youth would then submit plans for the £750,000 refurbishment, paid in part by the Bradfield Club, but also by a number of other donors.

Once complete, the centre will be operated by Berkshire Youth on a peppercorn rent from the council and the Bradfield Club.

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