Town Centres and High Streets
Re-shaping our town centres and high streets to meet the needs of existing and future residents and businesses.
On this page:
- Newbury Town Centre Masterplan
- Vision for Newbury Town Centre
- Thatcham and Hungerford Town Centres
- London Road Industrial Estate
- Vision for LRIE
West Berkshire is a desirable place to live and work, with its mix of beautiful countryside, excellent connectivity, picturesque villages and bustling towns. We know that the Covid pandemic has accelerated the changing role of our town centres and high streets, bringing with it challenges and opportunities. We are committed to supporting our town centres and high streets to meet the needs of existing and future residents and businesses for years to come. In addition, we are continuing to progress our long-term vision for the London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) on the edge of Newbury Town Centre.
We have commissioned the first of a series of town centre studies designed to look in more detail at the specific issues facing our three town centres - Newbury, Thatcham and Hungerford. The three town centres are very different and we want to work collaboratively with residents, businesses and stakeholders in each of them to come up with a vision and a delivery strategy that addresses their specific challenges and maximises their opportunities for the benefit of all. This work complements work being carried out in Newbury and Thatcham to support the Local Plan Review.
We are also supporting our town centres and high streets in very practical ways including:
- By providing up to £140,000 in Welcome Back Business Grants direct to local businesses for projects to encourage existing and new customers
- By supporting the Newbury BID (Business Improvement District) as it seeks a third term to continue its work to establish Newbury as a go-to destination for businesses and visitors
- By drawing down up to £260,000 Welcome Back Funding to assist town and parish councils and business improvement districts in adapting high streets to meet Covid safety requirements and attracting footfall
The town centre studies work has already begun in Newbury, with the Newbury Town Centre Masterplan, which has been developed by a multi-disciplinary team of consultants comprising HemingwayDesign, New Masterplanning, GL Hearn and Urban Movement, working in partnership with the community and local stakeholders.
Over 4,000 people responded to the first online public survey in early 2021 to give their views on Newbury's strengths and weaknesses and the vast majority of these were welcoming of change. This led to the development of a draft Vision and Spatial Framework for the town centre, which places the concept of the 'Crossroads' at its heart, and aims to ensure that as Newbury responds to the need for change, it remembers its market town heritage, and remains a focus for social interaction, economic growth, civic engagement and community activities. This vision was endorsed and further refined following a second online survey and public engagement session in July 2021, during which over 1,000 responses were received.
The Masterplan document, which includes baseline assessments, the vision, spatial masterplan and strategies for 'public realm and movement' and 'branding and events' as well as a delivery strategy, was endorsed by the Council's Executive on 10 February. We are now working with partners and stakeholders, including Newbury Town Council, Newbury BID and external funding bodies to work up and deliver a range of exciting projects to deliver the vision in the short, medium and longer term. We have prepared some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the Masterplan and you can view both documents below.
Newbury will continue to be a successful, modern market town by ensuring it is a place that:
- promotes its heritage and independent identity
- is innovative and entrepreneurial, able to respond quickly to econonic change
- is social and welcoming, where people gather to meet and celebrate
- is green in the widest sense, promoting sustainability, biodiversity and healthy living
- listens to the needs of its urban and rural community
We have set aside money in our budget to pay for similar work in Thatcham and Hungerford, and we intend to procure consultant support to work collaboratively with residents, businesses and stakeholders to come up with a short to medium term place-making vision and delivery strategy for each town centre, focussed around their specific challenges, opportunities, future uses and development.
The procurement has been paused to allow for complementary work to be carried out in Thatcham and Newbury to support the Local Plan Review. Once this is complete, we will progress the procurement of consultants to develop the two strategies sequentially over 2022/23.
Regeneration of the Council-owned London Road Industrial Estate (LRIE) on the eastern edge of Newbury town centre is part of our strategic commitment to deliver local infrastructure to support and grow the local economy. We are progressing our vision to transform this 11-hectare Council-owned site - we have already delivered a new road junction on the A339 to unlock the site for development, with the help of funding from the Thames Valley Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership.
The delivery of a mixed-use site that delivers economic growth, an improved local environment within which to work, travel and live, and provides effective links to the town centre.
Approved by Executive on 17 December 2020