Tue, 24 Nov 2020
Concerns have been raised that parts of Newbury's Kennet Shopping centre could be as high as 11 storeys when it is redeveloped.
There was confusion at a Newbury Town Council planning and highways committee meeting last week, where the centre's owner, Lochailort, gave a presentation on the proposals.
As revealed last month, Lochailort is preparing to submit a planning application for a comprehensive, mixed-use development consisting of 400 new homes, office space and 30 new ‘flexible' shops.
The new centre, which will be called Eagle Quarter, also features 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 current multi-storey car park, including additional parking spaces and electric vehicle charging points.
At the council meeting, councillor Roger Hunneman (Lib Dem, Wash Common) said: "My main concern is the eight storeys high blocks – the one or two blocks in the middle.
"That may be a little too high."
Gary Norman (Lib Dem, Wash Common), who was chairing the meeting, interrupted: "I think it may actually be 11 [storeys] in the middle actually, Roger."
Mr Hunneman asked James Croucher, representing the developer, if he had any comment to make on the height of the building.
He replied: "Only that we put our proposals to consultation and that closed just at the weekend, so I haven't had any chance to look at what people have said.
"We do recognise that height, mass and bulk of a new development, particularly in a conservation area, is something we need to handle very carefully."
Former town councillor Anthony Pick, who is a member of the town's heritage working group, also raised concerns about the impact the development would have in terms of the view from surrounding streets.
Mr Croucher advised that Landscape and Visual Impact Assessments will be undertaken to assess what impact the building will have from various viewpoints within the town.
It was also hinted that West Berkshire Council could occupy office space within the redeveloped site.