Fri, 14 Aug 2020
CONCERNS have been raised over plans to build a new Lidl store on the site of the former Narrow Boat pub in Newbury.
While the proposals have attracted 10 letters of support, Newbury Town Council, the Environment Agency, the Canal and River Trust, Thames Water and West Berkshire Council’s conservation officer have all registered their objections.
Concerns range from the potential for the site by the A4 to flood, due to its close proximity to the canal, to the possible harmful impact it could have on area and the loss of an historic building.
London Road Limited has applied to demolish the pub, which closed in December 2016 and has sat empty since, as well as the adjacent Bargain Buys, to accommodate the new store.
The store would replace the Lidl supermarket currently situated in London Road as the lease there is due to expire soon.
Lidl said it was leaving its current store because “it is too small to meet the modern operator requirements of Lidl and the range and offer now expected by its customers”.
The application says that 40 jobs will be secured through the new store and that 202 car parking spaces will be provided – an increase of 110 – including two electric vehicle charging points.
A retail assessment said that other sites in Newbury and Thatcham had been considered but ruled out, mostly because the available units were too small.
Units considered included retail space at the Market Street development, the Greenham Road Retail Park near the Burger King roundabout and units in Thatcham Broadway and High Street.
The former TK Maxx in the Kennet Shopping centre was also considered.
Documents state that there is no prospect of a pub reopening on the site and that a lack of demand, combined with the substantial costs of bringing the building back into use, meant it was not viable.
Lidl is also opening a new store in part of the former Homebase store at Newbury Retail Park.
You can view and comment on the application by entering the reference 20/01498/COMIND into the planning section of West Berkshire Council’s website.