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Have your say on the Design Plans for the Canal in Newbury

“The Canal is one of Newbury’s most important features and we are working hard to protect and improve it. It is a wonderful place to walk, cycle or just relax and enjoy the many beautiful scenes it offers.” Councillor Gary Norman has launched a public consultation on the Design Statement prepared by the Town Council’s Canal Corridor Working Group which he chairs.

“The Kennet and Avon Canal runs right through the heart of our town and has played a key role in the social and economic development of Newbury. It continues to benefit a wide range of users, from boats, to cyclist and pedestrians, as well as anglers and canoeists. It is also of tremendous environmental and ecological value to the Town, as it is home to a variety of wildlife and plants all along our Canal Corridor.”

The Design Statement describes the history, character and functions of the Canal. It then recommends design guidelines, design principles and planning policies to influence future development along the canal corridor. These address important issues such as enhancing access to the Canal and maintaining and improving the towpath along the corridor. The Statement proposes building development, especially on the eastern side of the Canal below Victoria Park as the light industrial areas of Newbury give way to housing. “Done well, this will enhance the Canal, but it is vital to preserve the green character of the Canal Corridor by not building too close to the water.”

It also puts forward ideas and proposals for the future development of The Wharf and West Mills, as well as urging West Berkshire District Council to complete conservation Area Appraisals to provide greater protection for the heritage and the character of the Canal Corridor. “Measures and designs that enhance the Canal Corridor can help to promote the utilisation of the waterways by new and existing communities. This has the potential to enhance the wellbeing of people who live and work in Newbury.”

Councillor Martin Colston,  Leader of the Council, thanked the Working Group for preparing the Statement: “This is a really exciting project and the number of partners who are working with us proves how important this is for Newbury. The Canal and River Trust, The Kennet and Avon Canal Trust and Inland Waterways UK have all been of tremendous assistance to us. Locally, West Berkshire Spokes, West Berkshire ramblers, The Newbury Society, The Secret Garden Project, The Canoe Club, The Anglers and the marinas are all involved. The Council could not complete this project without their input and assistance.”

The Public Consultation runs from 23 September to 27 October and the Canal Corridor design statement can be viewed on the Council’s website at www.newbury.gov.uk.

Copies of the statement can also be viewed at The Town Hall. As part of the Consultation process the Council will hold a Coffee morning in the Town Hall, with free refreshments, from 10 am to 1.00 pm on Saturday 12 October and all are welcome to come along. Members of the Working group will be in attendance and will be able to answer questions and assist with responses to the consultation.

Councillor Norman encourages the public to have their say, “If you share our passion and want to protect and improve the Canal Corridor, then we would love to hear your views and ideas. This is your opportunity, so please get your responses to us by Sunday 27 October. Responses can be by email, on-line or posted to the Town Hall.”

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