Carter Jonas’s Regeneration, Retail and Town Centre Consultancy Team has advised West Berkshire Council since 2002 on plan-making and development management decisions relating to its town centres, and the need for new retail and commercial leisure uses. Our advice has ranged from the preparation of an evidence-based Strategic Vision for Newbury Town Centre, to the planning and delivery of the Parkway Shopping Centre.
Carter Jonas’s Regeneration, Retail and Town Centre Consultancy team first prepared a retail, leisure and town centre strategy for West Berkshire Council in 2002 to help inform the preparation of its Local Plan and the emerging Town Centre Vision 2025. The strategy identified the need for a new retail-led development in the town centre to help Newbury “fight back” against new investment in larger neighbouring centres (including Reading and Basingstoke), and competing out-of- centre shopping locations.
We were subsequently retained by the Council to prepare a Planning and Development Brief for a key strategic site behind the high street in the heart of the town centre. The Brief was prepared in collaboration with the Council and was underpinned by wide-ranging consultation with local politicians, businesses, key town centre stakeholders and the community. The Brief was successfully used by the Council to procure a development partner and to deliver the new mixed-use Parkway Shopping Centre, which opened in 2011 and is anchored by Debenhams.
We also acted for the Council as their expert retail planning witness at the CPO Inquiry. Since Parkway opened, there has been marked uplift in Newbury’s footfall and turnover, and it has attracted further new investment into the town centre, including the opening of a John Lewis at Home store on an adjacent site.
More recently, Carter Jonas’s team members have updated the original 2002 Retail, Leisure and Town Centre Strategy to inform the Council’s preparation of the new Local Plan. This evidence base has also been used to assess the retail planning merits of applications for new retail floorspace proposed outside of existing town centres.