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Waterside centre opening edging closer

Conditional agreement reached with local organisations

THE “long-held ambition” of refurbishing Newbury’s Waterside Centre is expected to finally get under way this year.

West Berkshire Council acquired the canalside building when Berkshire County Council dissolved in 1998 and currently uses it to provide support to the most vulnerable young people in the district.

Plans to repurpose the building have been in the pipeline for some time, but could be set in motion later this year.

The future of the Waterside Centre was raised at a meeting on Thursday, February 14, by Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West).

Mr Brooks asked when the council would commit to revamping the important youth facility.

In response, the council’s executive member for children and young people, Lynne Doherty (Con, Northcroft), said that a conditional agreement had been reached with Bradfield College, the Bradfield Club and Berkshire Youth.

Mrs Doherty added that the Bradfield Club would purchase a 50 per cent share in the centre from the council.

Berkshire Youth will then submit a planning application for a £750,000 refurbishment, paid in part by the Bradfield Club, but also by a number of other donors.

Once complete, the centre will be operated by Berkshire Youth on a peppercorn rent from the council and the Bradfield Club.

Mrs Doherty said the move would “enable the important project to proceed”.

She added that it represented “a major commitment to the people of Newbury and West Berkshire and said she was delighted that “over the next 12 months or so this long-held ambition will at last become a reality.”

The council is currently in the process of moving staff out of the centre ahead of the handover and refurbishment.

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