The following section provides a brief summary from Newbury Town Council (NTC) Leader Martin Colston. It covers the main issues which he, and NTC, have been dealing with over the previous month and looks forward to matters to be dealt with in the month to come. It by no means describes all of his, or the Council’s, activities. More information – including details of NTC meetings, events, press releases and contacts – can be found on the NTC website.
The temporary (since 1 June) 24-hour pedestrianisation of Newbury town centre came to an end on 31 August. NTC, in partnership with the Newbury BID, has carried out a shopper survey (with 460 responses) to assess reaction to the trial and to gather views on priorities for the future of the town centre. A summary of the findings can be found here. We have also set up a new Newbury Town Centre Working Group which will hold its first meeting soon, and will review the results of the survey to help set its priorities. We remain committed to our strategy of permanent pedestrianisation of the Market Place (with traffic able to go down Mansion House Street and on into Wharf Street and then Bear Lane).
Outreach youth worker
Since the elections in May 2019 it has been one of the central ambitions of the council to provide outreach youth work in Newbury. We are delighted that in August we finalised our partnership agreement with Berkshire Youth to provide 12 hours of outreach youth work every week for the next three years. We are also delighted that Berkshire Youth has now leased the Waterside Centre from West Berkshire Council and will begin refurbishment soon.
The second key new part of the council strategy is to become carbon neutral by 2030. We will be holding our second Climate Change Workshop on 19 September. We will provide an update on our carbon reduction vs our target, launch our Climate Grant, and have three speakers to help stimulate ideas. The workshop will be held on Zoom and you can register your interest here.
We have been working closely with Greenham Parish Council via a Sandleford Joint Working Group. This group has met four times in August to scrutinise the latest planning application for Sandleford and report back to our Planning and Highways Committee. The all-party committee unanimously agreed to accept the recommendations of the Group and oppose the application on several grounds, including the poorly-planned access, environmental impact and whether or not the scheme is actually relevant to the housing requirements being discussed in the new Local Plan. We believe houses are needed in Newbury and in West Berkshire, but question the need for the destruction of a greenfield site when new opportunities are arising all the time for more residential property in the town centre and other brownfield areas.