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"Urban Village" community planning weekend to start tomorrow

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TOMORROW (Friday) marks the start of a community planning weekend where developers of the proposed ‘urban village’ in Newbury town centre are asking for feedback on the project.

Developer Grainger plc and West Berkshire Council want to turn the 5.5-acre site between Newbury railway station and Market Street into a “residential-led, mixed-use neighbourhood” and are asking for the public’s help in shaping the plans.

According to Grainger, the development will accommodate at least 200 homes, along with small units for commercial and retail uses and extra car parking for users of Newbury rail station, plus other station improvements.

West Berkshire Council said the plan would also include small-scale arcade-type retail units and replacement parking in a new multi-storey car park, and the replacement of the bus interchange.

The public workshop will be held at the West Berkshire Council offices at Market Street tomorrow between 1.45 and 7pm, and then between 10.45am and 4pm on Saturday.

Following an introduction at 2pm, the first workshop, ‘The Area Today’, will take place, looking at the Market Street site as it currently exists. This will be followed by a workshop aimed at young people.

At 3.30pm there will be hands-on planning group sessions and walkabouts, allowing participants to “discuss opportunities and connections” for the area.

On Saturday, a ‘Market Street Tomorrow’ workshop will allow residents to put forward ideas for the new development, followed by a second planning group session and walkabout.

Organisers said that the weekend would “be an opportunity to share local knowledge and contribute to planning the new neighbourhood through workshops, walkabouts and hands-on planning groups. There will also be an exhibition explaining the background of the site.”

Participation is on a drop-in basis and people can stay for as little or as long as they like, with team members on hand to answer questions.

Following the weekend, a report-back presentation, to include an illustrative masterplan, will be held next Thursday at 7pm on Thursday July 16 at St Nicolas Church.

A detailed planning application will then be submitted to West Berkshire Council in the autumn.

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