Revised proposals for the Eagle Quarter at Newbury have been submitted which show reduced heights and a second reduction in the numbers of flats.
Developer Lochailort had previously reduced the number of apartments in the mixed-use scheme, which will replace the ailing Kennet Centre, from 402 to 381 and has now cut that to 367.
The ground floor retail units, designed for artisan and independent operators, remain the same and the environmental improvements proposed have since been reassessed to meet new requirements published last year.
Lochailort director Hugo Haig said: “Back in August 2021 a number of changes were made and amended plans submitted which reduced the height and massing of the proposals.
“The latest amendments build on the previous scheme and have focused on re-elevating the architecture of the scheme to ensure that it respects and enhances the historic character of Newbury.”
He said the ground floor retail and public realm is considered essential to the vibrancy of the scheme. He added: “We were praised about this element in our original proposal and we have not altered it.”
A new report was published as part of the revised scheme which reassesses it against the new Building Regulations Approved Document L (2021). It requires that carbon emissions are 31 lower than required by the previous edition in 2013. The original Eagle Quarter proposal was assessed against the 2013 document and the revised scheme boasts an overall reduction of 48 per cent.
Measures including heat pumps and solar panels will reduce carbon emissions by around 90 per cent compared to the existing Kennet Centre.
Other features of the scheme include the re-use and refurbishment of the multi-storey car park, water efficiency measures and SUDS, electric vehicle charging points, on-site car club and cycle hire facilities, a ‘Library of Things’, landscaping and greening and biodiversity enhancements.
Mr Haig estimates that the town is losing out to the tune of £10 million a year by not having a vibrant centre. He hopes the current plan strikes the right balance between keeping the scheme viable and addressing concerns over scale.
He said: “We have listened to the concerns of the Newbury Society, and although I am sure that they will welcome the changes and commend them, sadly I expect they may well still have issues about the height, albeit we have reduced the tallest part of the scheme by two storeys as well as reducing various other elements.
“The original application was for 402 apartments, it was then reduced it to 381 and the current proposals are for 367.
“It seems to me that we are being caught between two elements, one wanting new streets, fabulous new buildings, people living in the town centre, shops, green credentials etc, and the other which want all the goodies but a scheme of half the size which, fundamentally, will never work.”
Lochailort has added to its team to try to come up with an acceptable proposal. Mr Haig said: “We have worked closely and listened to interested parties. We have engaged the services of Robert Adam PhD RIBA to work with the original architect, Collado Collins.
“Robert has looked at the key historic facades facing Bartholomew Street and Market Place and has re-elevated them in a Newbury vernacular.”
The scheme could be considered by West Berkshire Council as early as November 2 and, subject to gaining approval, Lochailort hopes to be on site within 12 months.
Images show: Top: The Eagle Quarter seen from Market Place.
Below: As see from Bartholomew Street.
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