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Public engagement session planned for Newbury's London Road Industrial Estate development

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Webinar to be held on October 8

AN online virtual engagement session will be held next month as part of a public consultation on plans to redevelop Newbury’s London Road Industrial Estate.

As part of the consultation, independent real estate consultant Avison Young will run a virtual session, facilitated by West Berkshire Council, on Thursday, October 8, at 6pm.

If you would like to take part, email the council’s special projects manager Bill Bagnell at bill.bagnell@westberks.gov.uk

Depending on the numbers wishing to attend, the council will contact those interested in participating nearer the time, to confirm how the webinar will be managed.

The council said that ideally this engagement would have been held in public venues across the district, but this is not possible due to current Covid-19 restrictions.

The findings of this consultation process will be fed back and reflected in a revised Draft Development Brief, to be submitted to the council’s executive meeting on Thursday, November 19.

Following this, the council will publish the results at https://info.westberks.gov.uk/draftdevelopmentbrief

A public consultation on the draft development brief for the site, which was recently published by Avison Young, is now open and will run for six weeks until October 20.

The draft development brief 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 said 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.

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 move through that part of town.

To take part in the public consultation, visit https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/draftdevelopmentbrief

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”.

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