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Newbury's Victoria Park café plans – latest update including new managers announced

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Newbury's long-hoped for Victoria Park café has nudged a step closer to reality.

Best guesses from the town council on when it might be open for business suggest April 2023.

But the council's carbon neutral hopes for the new building in Victoria Park are the latest trip hazard.

The existing Victoria Park cafe.
The existing Victoria Park cafe.

The thermal fabrics and building frame designs proposed need to be improved before building regulations can be applied for.

Then it is full steam ahead to get the builders in.

One bit of progress is that the people who are going to run the café have been chosen.

CGI image of the proposed cafe (51511709)
CGI image of the proposed cafe (51511709)

They are Liam and Lucy Woodward who currently run the Monkey Tree café in Northcroft Lane, Newbury. Due diligence is now under way ahead of their formal appointment.

The town council's community services committee is unafraid of wringing its hands in frustration at the prolonged attempt to get a café, event space and park toilets in place.

Roger Hunneman (Lib Dem, Wash Common) is the chairman of the Victoria Park sub committee responsible for pushing the project, now in its seventh year, through.

"Earlier applications were plagued because it is on a flood plain," he said.

"Now that is sorted as it has voids under the building proposed. It is hoped to meet all the thermal and environmental requirements to make the building entirely carbon neutral.

“It is an extremely large challenge. To be frank, we may not meet all of them but we will do our best with it.

"The council has enough money to do this. We are now focussing on the time scale. We are desperate to get this ready for the residents of Newbury. It's been going on far too long."

Planning permission for the café, which is also intended to be used as a community space, and open into the evenings, was granted by West Berkshire Council in July.

"We have a shack at the moment – people are very fond of it, but if it rains there is no shelter," said Martha Vickers (Lib Dem, West Fields).

"And there is no toilet. If you want to go to the toilet you have to head to the Wharf or to Parkway. So we need a facility like this in the park.

"We are hoping for spring 2023 – but we would dearly love it to be earlier."

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