A town council has objected to plans to demolish a weekly newspaper’s former home and replace it with flats and offices.
Last May, Newbury News Ltd submitted an application to demolish Newspaper House and replace it with 82 flats and associated office space.
Planning officers at West Berkshire Council considered that the plans did not contain enough office space and now a revised scheme has been put forward.
The building is now owned by Newspaper House Holdings Ltd, which was demerged from Newbury News Ltd as part of the sale of the weekly news to a new joint venture formed by Iliffe Media chief executive Edward Iliffe and Scottish Provincial Press director Peter Fowler.
The revised scheme features more than double the amount of office space than was previously proposed, while the number of flats in the plan has been reduced from 82 to 71, with 21 of those homes being affordable as defined by council guidelines.
Addressing town councillors at a meeting on Monday, Kirstin Sullivan from planning consultant Pro Vision, working on behalf of Newspaper House Holdings Ltd, said a “significant amount of work” had been undertaken to review the scheme.
Burt Lib Dem councillors raised concerns at the meeting that the proposed housing was too close to a major road.
Coun Roger Hunneman said: “I don’t like to be opposed to further housing development, but in this particular case, I don’t think it is really an appropriate place for flats. I think it is an ill-considered scheme, so I would not support this.”
His colleague Phil Barnett said he had “grave concerns” about the close proximity of the flats to the A road, adding: “Very little thought has been given to the effect for those residents. The only good, positive on this development is the actual position in relationship to the town.
And Green councillor Steve Masters said: “I just want to echo the concerns raised by other councillors. It needs more mitigation against the pollution risk.”
Newspaper House Holdings Ltd has been approached for a comment.