Sat, 24 Aug 2019
THE owner of Newbury’s Camp Hopson department store has strongly objected to plans for a £750,000 redevelopment of the Waterside Centre.
Morleys Stores Ltd claims refurbishing the centre would be “detrimental” to the town.
This comes despite Newbury Town Council unanimously supporting the scheme.
The proposed redevelopment consists of a new 14.5m climbing tower, two-storey viewing gallery and café, which will be open to the public.
It is hoped that refurbishing the run-down facility will enable it to be used by young people for a range of activities including canoeing and dancing.
Morleys Stores Ltd contacted West Berkshire planners “strongly objecting” to the proposal, especially the proposed climbing tower, which will be situated next to Camp Hopson’s furniture store.
It claims it would “dramatically” affect its plans to redevelop or refurbish the store.
Morleys also said: “The application shows scant regard for both the existing furniture store and the opportunity to create a comprehensive redevelopment of this location and, as such, will be to the detriment of Newbury.”
The store’s owner has said it is prepared to work in conjunction with others to create a “much better and well thought out building form for the wider area rather than piecemeal site-by-site development”.
It has appointed a planning surveyor who will discuss the scheme with planners.
West Berkshire Council acquired the centre in 1998 which had, in the past, been used to support vulnerable young people in the area.
Planning documents state that the new centre would “help to develop young people to grow to full maturity as individuals and members of the society”.
The Bradfield Club, a charity established to help young people which has connections with Bradfield College, will purchase a 50 per cent share in the building, after which the centre would be run by Berkshire Youth.
It will be charged a peppercorn rent by the council and the charity.
West Berkshire Council is expected to make a decision on the plans next Wednesday.