Tue, 15 Sept 2020
WEST Berkshire residents can now have their say on controversial plans to redevelop Newbury’s London Road Industrial Estate.
A public consultation on the draft development brief for the site – which was recently published by independent real estate consultant Avison Young – is now open and will run for six weeks until October 20.
The council’s long-held aim of regenerating the estate was brought to a halt last year when the Court of Appeal ruled that it had not followed the correct procurement process when appointing developer St Modwen.
The court ruled that the development agreement constituted a ‘public works contract’ and should have been put out to tender.
As a result, the agreement was declared unlawful and ineffective, taking the council back to square one.
Calls for an independent inquiry into how the council spent £5.6m of public money, including £363,000 on legal fees, were dismissed by the Conservative administration, which said that it would be “a waste of time and money”.
The draft development brief from Avison Young on the redevelopment, which was commissioned by the council in December 2019, has found that regeneration remains a ‘viable prospect’.
The report puts forward two possible options for developing a new masterplan for the area.
The first is for a comprehensive redevelopment of the entire site, while the other is to develop it on a phased basis when individual plots become available.
However, neither of them involve keeping the Faraday Road football ground where it is.
The council says it is instead “looking at options to build a new football facility in the Newbury area” which could be used by Newbury Football Club as well as the wider community.
In coming up with its proposals, Avison Young spoke to existing businesses on the site as well as other local stakeholders.
The council’s executive member for finance and economic development, Ross Mackinnon, is encouraging residents to have their say on the draft development brief.
He said: “There is huge potential from regenerating the London Road Industrial Estate – from new office and industrial space to homes and a new improved northern gateway to the town there is lots to be excited about.
“We recognise it is an important area of the town and that local residents and businesses will have a view on how we take this forward.
“I hope people will take a look at the plans and have their say.”
As well as new business space, regeneration could also deliver up to 544 new homes on the site and provide an opportunity to introduce new active travel routes, making it easier for people to travel through that part of town.
To take part and have your say, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/draftdevelopmentbrief