Mon, 26 Oct 2020
The future of the Kennet Centre, which could result in 400 homes and a new headquarters office, have been revealed.
Lochailort Newbury Ltd has announced a public consultation on its comprehensive regeneration plans that it says will transform the old, outdated shopping centre into a new, vibrant, mixed‐use, high-quality development.
The new-look centre will be known as Eagle Quarter, after Plenty's Eagle Iron Works founded on what is now the south side of the Kennet Centre, in a project to be one of the first ‘shopping centre to town centre’ regeneration initiatives in the county.
Taking inspiration from the town’s heritage, the mixed‐use project will combine around 30 new flexible shops, restaurants and co‐working spaces with a focus on independent, local and artisan businesses.
The plans also include enhancements to the existing cinema and food area, plus improvements to the existing multi‐storey car park including additional parking spaces and Electric Vehicle charging points.
Accompanying the shops, around 400 multi-family new homes, including a significant proportion of purposely‐designed for rent are included in the scheme.
A new headquarters office building or a retirement living community are also being proposed.
New pedestrianised streets will provide new links between the town’s railway and bus stations and the shops in Northbrook Street, and encompass new public spaces to open up the town centre.
The company said the regeneration scheme would minimise fossil fuels and use a range of renewable energy solutions which will save at least 240 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.
Lochailort managing director Hugo Haig said: “Newbury has been my local town for 26 years. My children grew up here and I have seen first‐hand what has happened to the Kennet Centre.
"We have worked hard with the retailers and others through this tricky period and we are very grateful for their efforts to try and make the centre work.
"However the redevelopment of the site, retaining the Vue cinema and multi‐storey car park, offers the town a once‐in‐a‐lifetime opportunity to create something very special that will enhance and rejuvenate this town centre site.”
Rivington Hark is the centre's asset manager running the existing centre on behalf of the investors.
It said that demand existed from independent and local occupiers who want space in an attractive environment.
The company said it would continue to engage with them as part of the project, and Eagle Quarter sought to retain the best elements, such as the cinema.
The public consultation launches on Thursday at www.eaglequarter.com along with an exhibition opening the same day in the Kennet Shopping centre.
Lochailort will consider the public feedback and intends to make a formal planning application to West Berkshire Council before the end of the year.