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Newbury Town Council objects to Eagle Quarter plans

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Revamped plans for developing the centre of Newbury have been criticised for trying to turn the town into ‘Basingstoke or Reading’.

The latest version for the so-called Eagle Quarter – which would see the Kennet Shopping centre bulldozed and replaced with blocks of flats –was given the thumbs down despite developers claiming to have made it ‘more Newbury’.

But that cut no ice with Newbury Town Council’s planning and highways committee on Monday night.

Newbury Town Centre (52645496)
Newbury Town Centre (52645496)

“This development is overbearing and the small changes on offer here are peanuts,” said Jo Day (Lib Dem, Speenhamland).

“I do not want to see Newbury turned into Basingstoke or Reading.”

Development company Lochailort had submitted plans to transform the centre into a high-rise, multi-purpose complex, with the highest levels reaching 11 storeys.

The revised Eagle Quarter plans. (50579214)
The revised Eagle Quarter plans. (50579214)

Following staunch objections, it reduced the height of the tallest building by two storeys, with another layer coming off the second tallest.

The number of flats has been reduced from 402 to 381, but the pedestrianised street through the centre of the development, a GP surgery and medical hub, and the units for local, independent and artisan retailers will remain.

The latest plans were before Newbury’s planning committee this week, at which Dr David Peacock of the Newbury Society said that the town’s historic streets needed to be enhanced, not compromised.

“We accept this area needs development,” he said. “But this scheme has too many flats and is out of proportion to the town centre and out of character for Newbury.”

Hugo Haig from Lochailort presented to the chamber, adding that the final plans would include making the scheme ‘more Newbury’, adding that the flats would be built in keeping with the carbon neutral ambitions of the council.

But the committee lodged its objections to the scheme, with Gary Norman (Lib Dem, Wash Common) saying: “What will people say in 50, 100 years time? Who the hell agreed to that?

"As long as you say it is ‘green’ you think you can build anything you like.

"It is an eyesore and it wrecks the town, and I don’t want my name attached to it.”

The revised plans are due to go before West Berkshire’s planning committee in November.

Today (October 26) is the last day for the public to submit their comments. Email: planapps@westberks.gov.uk quoting reference 21/00379/FULMAJ

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