More than 200 people took part in workshops and hands-on planning activities at the Community Planning Weekend process, and helped shape the vision for the Market Street site, adjacent to the station at Newbury.
The workshops, were led by architects John Thompson & Partners (JTP), on behalf of Grainger, the developer, and gave local residents, including young people, the chance to help identify the challenges, opportunities and solution for this site, as well as drawing ideas for the new ‘urban village’. Walkabouts of the town centre also took place, with groups discussing what makes the character of Newbury and how this could influence the design of the new urban village.
Fiona Crooks Smith, owner of Rainbow crafts shop, Inches Yard said, “It is fantastic that Grainger has invited the local community to help shape this exciting development, rather than presenting us with their own plans. A development on this site will bring more people into the southern part of the town centre, which would be great news for smaller, independent shops like mine. I hope the development goes ahead and Newbury residents support this opportunity to achieve a new gateway to the town centre from the train station.”
Over 5,000 leaflets were distributed to the local community and the surrounding parishes to encourage people to participate in the planning stages for this site and make a difference to this prominent ‘gateway’ to Newbury.
David Walters, Development Director at Grainger said,
“We’d like to thank everyone who gave up their time to join us over the weekend. The local insight they gave has been invaluable and we’re extremely grateful to have received so much local knowledge.
“The design team has started work on the layout of the site which we will be sharing at the Feedback Presentation on Thursday (16 July) evening. This is just the start of our consultation process and it’s important to us that we continue to receive feedback from the local community.”
“Within the site boundary is the existing Quaker’s Meeting House who we have been in dialogue with for some time, and after feedback from this event we will be able to follow up with them over the coming weeks”.
Harry Craig, 12 years old, of Trinity School participated in a workshop earlier in the week and presented his team’s ideas at the workshop on Friday (10 July). He said,
“It’s great that we’re getting the opportunity to input now and in five years’ time we’ll be the ones benefiting from the new development.”
Following the public workshop days, the JTP led team will now analyse and summarise the outcomes and draw up a new Vision for the site, including an illustrative masterplan. This will be presented to the local community at the Report Back presentation on 16 July 2015, 7.00PM-8.30PM at St Nicolas Church, West Mills, Newbury RG14 5HG.
If you were unable to attend the workshops but would like to find out more, you can view the background exhibition boards on the ‘About‘ page and also provide feedback to the project team via the ‘Get in touch‘ page.
A further public exhibition is planned in the autumn giving the local community further opportunity to provide feedback on the proposals as they develop. The project team will then move forward to prepare a detailed planning application for the site, which it is anticipated will be submitted to West Berkshire Council by the end of 2015.