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Town council objects to Bartholomew Street development plan

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Councillors express concern about overdevelopment and parking

NEWBURY town councillors have objected to town centre plans for a four-storey high retail and residential development made up of 14 flats and an integral car park.

At a planning committee meeting held at Newbury Town Hall on Monday, town councillors warned of “overdevelopment” on the proposed development site at 31-34 Bartholomew Street.

Developer Ressance wants to build 14 two-bed apartments with associated retail space, and an undercroft car park with space for 10 cars and 28 bicycles.

The size area of the existing shops and businesses would drop from the current 227 sq m to 86 sq m, and employ two full-time members of staff.

Ressance said of the proposed development: “The building currently on site neither makes efficient use of brownfield land, nor does it enhance the street scene of Bartholomew Street.

“The proposed scheme will make an efficient use of land and improve the street scene.

“It will add to the much-needed housing stock in West Berkshire and, as all dwellings will be available through the Government’s highly-successful Help to Buy Scheme, it will offer a great opportunity to first-time buyers and other owner- occupiers.

“The development will provide new commercial space on the ground floor, which will improve the active frontage of Bartholomew Street.”

Town councillors, however, raised concerns of both the height at four storeys and the proposed undercroft parking arrangement, which would provide a single access point on to the Bartholomew Street and Market Street junction.

Elizabeth O’Keeffe (Lib Dem, Victoria) said: “I am very concerned about the underground car parking area. I am not clear where they are going to come out.

“It seems to be a very peculiar place to be turning, right where there are traffic lights.

“I would propose we are not very happy with this one. It’s a case of over-development and it is inappropriate for this part of town.”

Anthony Pick (Con, St Johns) said: “There is no real indication of the design or what it is going to look like.”

Miles Evan (Con, Victoria) agreed: “How we are supposed to make any observations based on what is just a few squares on a board I don’t know.”

Councillors ultimately objected to the proposal on the grounds of a lack of information, and concerns of the height and underground car park.

The application, which was first submitted for consideration last month, will next be considered by West Berkshire Council at a later date.

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