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“No quantitative ‘need’ for additional convenience stores in Thatcham

Report says that Thatcham has too much retail space

John Herring

John Herring

john.herring@newburynews.co.uk

Contact:

01635 886633

“No quantitative ‘need’ for additional convenience stores in Thatcham

AN “oversupply of retail” exists in Thatcham, even if plans to redevelop the Kingsland Centre do not go ahead, a report has claimed.

However, it has been criticised for covering the retail offering of both Newbury and Thatcham.

The Western Berkshire Authorities Retail and Commercial Leisure Assessment discusses the provision of retail space for Thatcham in the period up to 2036.

The report, published in April 2017, said: “For Thatcham, there is no requirement for the council to plan for additional comparison goods floorspace, because of the extant permission for the redevelopment of the Kingsland Centre.

“Were this permission to expire without implementation, there would be a small requirement of additional comparison goods floorspace of 400 sq m net by 2026, increasing to 1,000 sq m net by 2036.”

The report was referenced in relation to recently-approved plans for retirement flats in Station Road.

Plans to redevelop the Kingsland Centre have been floating around since 2007.

The council approved plans for a new Waitrose store, 13 retail units, the refurbishment and extension of five existing shop units and the redevelopment and extension of the upper floor to provide first and second-floor accommodation.

Car parking for 229 vehicles alongside 226 bays in the current car park were also included.

The scheme was renewed in 2015 and the centre was sold to Sheet Anchor Evolve for £16.1m last year. 

But the new property management company told the NWN that a comprehensive redevelopment of the site was unlikely.

Nevertheless, a council report said that there was “no quantitative ‘need’ for additional convenience goods provision in the Newbury/Thatcham area over the period to 2036”.

This, the council said, was because of the large number of existing foodstores and “the fact that some of those already present are underperforming”.

It stated: “Were the permission for the redevelopment of the Kingsland Centre in Thatcham to lapse, there would remain an oversupply of convenience goods floorspace in the Newbury/Thatcham area.”

In response to the report, Thatcham councillor Steve Ardagh-Walter (Con, Thatcham Colthrop and Crookham) said it appeared that Thatcham had enough retail space.

He said: “I would love to see more shops with a wider range of goods opening within the town centre, both for the increased footfall and community benefits this would bring, and also for the environmental advantage of reducing car journeys within the district. 

“Shops will flourish when people choose to shop locally – so I hope more residents of Thatcham and neighbouring villages will make that decision and see what is available here. 

“If we do detect that there is a need for more shop space, I would hope that the property market would be able to respond; if it does not then we can look more broadly at this area.”

But the lumping together of Thatcham and Newbury was called out by shadow portfolio holder for economic development Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West). 

He said: “The high street is really struggling and it’s difficult for any local authority to wish to have more retail space when we can’t seem to keep the retail space we have now. 

“Thatcham is not too bad but Newbury, very difficult – look at the Kennet Centre. I don’t think you can compare the two.”  

Mr Brooks said that the nature of the high street had changed as more services were taken online.

“People are going to high streets for different things,” he said.

“They want services, hospitality, nail bars, tattoo parlours, coffee shops.

“The high street experience is perishable goods, bread, milk, when you can’t wait for Ocado to arrive or whatever.”

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Article comments

  • Jeremy

    12/08/2019 - 11:11

    So why are ALL the shops in the Broadway & High Street ALL let? Jeremy Cottam Thatcham Chamber of Commerce

    Reply

  • daviesr1

    11/08/2019 - 15:03

    As I've said elsewhere, this is only worth the money if it means this site publishes ALL news that is CURRENT. As a thatchamite of 36 years who now lives away and can't purchase the NWN I would like to catch up with local events, but this site should be entitled 'a very small bit of Newbury from a long time ago'.

    Reply

    • ThatchamWX

      12/08/2019 - 15:03

      @Daviesr1 I've lived here for just 21 years. I send weather for free. www.thatcham-weather.info I sometimes wonder what might happen if I started charging for let's say, days when the weather was breaking local records. I will not do that. My weather data is accurate. It's free. I pay a lot to supply. My data was used for the 2007 floods, and it was used by so many agencies and homeowners. And today, still 'flood ponds' being constructed with 'my' rain data. They really did use my data. If I was a 'reporter', I would ask...? Or jusr repert sturf wif speeling missakes. And then we have to pay to view something much worth less than 20p. My £1 is an experiment. One-off. Not £1 a week or month.

      Reply

  • ThatchamWX

    10/08/2019 - 19:07

    Registered for Axate and can read everything (don't bother for this article), but there's a blooming great Axate window blocking most of my screen that will not go away! And look up Axate as very few publications use them. Lots of people in suits though. All chief of this and that... But something more useful than the Axate NWN article. If you do pay 20p, it's not 'for the day', it's for the next 24 hours. Now that is good news and should be communicated. Perhaps more people would take it up if they knew 20p lasted for sort of 'two' days.

    Reply

  • ThatchamWX

    10/08/2019 - 19:07

    Why would I want to pay 20p to read 'news' that was published in April 2017? If you search for the report, it's 435 pages long and free to download. Although it could be worth paying 20p to see what reading Beverly Hogarth had when she fell out of her car, as it must be high. I'll give Axate a go and keep the sentence to myself. But if anybody wants to send me 10p, I'll let you know as we can share the cost... And it's been windy today, but I've supplied my weather data for free since 2002 and will continue to do so.

    Reply