Tue, 01 Dec 2020
PLANS for a major regeneration of Newbury’s London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) have moved a step closer after councillors approved the publication of a final development brief for the site.
Proposals to redevelop the site have been in the pipeline for more than a decade.
However, they have been hit by a series of a setbacks and costly legal challenges.
In 2018, it suffered a major blow when the Court of Appeal ruled that West Berkshire Council had breached EU law by failing to follow the correct procurement process when it appointed St Modwen Plc as the developer.
However, the project to redevelop the LRIE is back on track and on Thursday the council approved plans to publish the final development brief, which will guide the next steps.
It can now look to hire a developer to prepare a detailed planning application after publishing the brief, that has been drawn up by consultants at Avison Young.
The council’s executive member for finance Ross Mackinnon (Con, Bradfield) said: “It represents the next step on the journey towards the regeneration of this site.
“It’s going to revamp and transform the eastern approach to Newbury town centre. It’s going to attract business, enterprise and residents to what is going to be a high-quality and first-class residential, office and business development.
“Things are progressing nicely.”
The brief says up to 544 homes, 6,023 sq m of office space and 6,690 sq m of space for other businesses could be built on the site as part of one comprehensive development.
It says the council could construct 280 homes, 3,473 sq m of office space and 5,400 sq m of space for other businesses if it develops the site in phases.
The council owns the majority of the estate, but several businesses have signed long-term leases and the brief says this could “curtail its ability to deliver new development”.
Mr Mackinnon said that some of the comments from the public consultation had resulted in changes to the development brief.
He said the brief had been changed to clarify certain compulsory purchase orders won’t be needed to “put people’s minds at rest”.
He said there were also “lots of comments around football ground and flood mitigation” and that the brief had been updated to clarify the council’s position in these areas.
However, he said: “The public consultation hasn’t thrown up matters that should alter the council’s decision to regenerate the LRIE, so we are happy to move forward with the next steps.”
The council will now bring a proposal to the executive meeting in December which will “detail its decision about how to proceed from here”.
Tony Vickers (Lib Dem, Newbury Wash Common) said the opposition was “very excited by the prospect of this very important site being redeveloped”, but “just wished we hadn’t lost 10 years and a million pounds in doing so”.