The West Berks Council are currently consulting on Future Employment Land Need, and 2 of the EDC stakeholders attended an initial presentation in Newbury on 20th November.
The Review is of the Current Local Plan which runs until 2036, as the Council approaches its formal submission version of the plan it is finalising its evidence base imminently.
We are very concerned that without strong representation from the Business Community locally West Berkshire Council will accept evidence which suggests that there has been limited take up historically and that the trend should be perpetuated perhaps only allocating annually 2,500 sqm or 27,000 sqft to office use ( practically one Building the size of Sovereigns current office Building in Newbury (Woodlands) and 2 ha pa or 5 acres to Industrial Use for the whole of the District enough to accommodate about 100,000 sqft at normal density.
This allocation of land would be for the whole of West Berkshire from Lambourn to Mortimer, and will be spread pretty thinly across the district.
This analysis is against a background of many existing historic commercial land and sites coming under pressure from Residential Development seeking Brownfield politically friendly locations, and from what we believe to be a very significant loss of admittedly old office floor space to residential apartment use via Permitted Development without any provision for replacement in Newbury.
We do not believe that individual small sites will work particularly well for office users, and that both Office and Industrial businesses need a sensibly sized and well located dedicated Business area. West Berkshire’s own consultants have indicated that modern businesses show a tendency to want to cluster together around transport nodes and close to facilities and services.
We need to continue to Lobby strongly to get our collective voices heard and all the help that can be given will be needed by the EDC to give Newbury West Berkshire the land allocation it needs for future healthy Economic Development and to help Newbury continue to thrive and attract Inward Investment.
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