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Town Centres and High Streets

Re-shaping our town centres and high streets to meet the needs of existing and future residents and businesses.

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Newbury Victoria Park

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

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Newbury Town Centre Masterplan

Newbury Market Place and Town Hall
Newbury Town Centre Masterplan was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of consultants, which included Hemingway Design, 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.

Vision for Newbury Town Centre

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

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The Wharf Project 

West Berkshire Council have commissioned Adams & Sutherland, a multidisciplinary architectural and urban landscape consultancy to begin the first phase of work on the Wharf project this autumn, one of the town centre projects detailed in the Newbury Masterplan. 

We have secured £375K of external funding from the Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership and £420K from the UK Shared Prosperity fund, which has been allocated to delivering projects A and C of the Wharf project. 

The findings in the Newbury Masterplan highlighted the Wharf as an area of priority to improve. The Masterplan proposes that the area is redeveloped into a new multi-purpose space. The vision entails transforming the car park within the Wharf into a new social and events space, which will have the capacity to hold events, improve visitor experience and help to better connect Newbury town centre. 

Adams & Sutherland previously worked with West Berkshire Council in April 2022 when they developed an outline design/feasibility study for the Wharf. They are now working on detailed design drawings for phase 1 of the Wharf project, which includes project A (the Waterfront) and project C (the peace garden). Both projects set out to improve and transform the current space into a more inviting and welcoming place. 

The Waterfront (Project A):

  • redefine the Wharf edge and transform into a more inviting and welcoming place
  • activate the space with improved provision for leisure and purposeful street furniture
  • introduce a new strip of surface which cradles the waterfront unifying the space
  • address the edge condition by installing new hardwood edging along the length of the waterfront

The Peace Garden (Project C):

  •  a new adjusted landscape with revived character
  • opportunity to create a more formal garden with dense planting supported by seating integrated into the landscape
  • planters both within existing soft landscape and extending onto hard landscape
  • improved visual connectivity with Waterfront
  • new path structure


Thatcham and Hungerford Town Centres

Hungerford Town Centre
The town centre strategies for Thatcham and Hungerford, by Hemingway Design, have been approved by West Berkshire Council's Executive on 23rd of March. The aim of these strategies is to boost the high streets and town centres, enhancing their vitality and economic prosperity.

The strategies have been developed with local communities, businesses, stakeholders, both Thatcham and Hungerford Town Councils and Hungerford Town and Manor. This has been in the form of workshops and an online public survey which received 1,700 responses. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the public consultation that helped to drive the study forward. 

The development of town centre strategies marks the beginning of a much longer engagement process with the project stakeholders and communities in Hungerford and Thatcham, enabling us to work together towards prioritising and refining the proposed projects within the strategies for each town. 

Our collaborative approach will ensure vibrant, sustainable and inclusive town centres that benefit everyone. 

Find each town's final strategy below: 

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Bond Riverside (LRIE)

Newbury London Road Estate

Regeneration of the Council-owned Bond Riverside (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.

Vision for Bond Riverside

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

You can find out more about the Council's vision for the London Road Industrial Estate and what we are doing to take this forward, here.

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