Newbury Park Way Development
Newbury is a market town in west Berkshire with a lot of history. The River Kennet runs through making it an important place for commerce and trade. Not far from the Kennet is a road called Park Way which had a lot of old Victorian houses along it, these were looking a bit run down and some had been demolished to be used as car parking others were still used as small businesses. There was also a double row of parking bays down the centre of Park Way. At some time the council must have decided this would make a good development area so this is what occurred. I had been going to Newbury with my wife on occasion shopping as I have to admit it is one of those nice relatively unspoilt towns. One day I noticed that the back of M&S where the car park was had been dug up and an archaeological dig was taking place which I have been told was mainly old Victorian cellars (to my shame I did not take any photos), the whole lot was recovered and a while later work began on the development along the whole site.
Once I realised what was occurring I began to record with photos each time I returned. Here I have to thank Camp Hobsonís Furniture store for letting me take photos out of the window so I could get an overall view of the place. The photos were taken every couple of months and at first nothing seemed to happen but then the buildings started to arise. I have tried to take a few photos of the same buildings throughout and go back to the point each time but Iíll let the photos do the rest. Link Link
These photos are how I found out work had started to happen along Park way
By the end of 2008 the drilling machines were in evidence boring deep hole for the piles. The odd one out in this set is the garage, it had stopped serving fuel and was now a car wash, 18 months later it was gone.
Into March 2009 and more machines were becoming evident on the site which was still easy to view with the fencing in place.
Come May things were changing slowly with the new wooden fence being erected to keep passers by safe from debris and also trespassing on site. It was also at this time I realised there was a good view out of Camp Hobsons Furniture shop window
Into August 2009 and things were changing slowly but there were signs of construction round the site.and by now the whole site was surrounded by a big blue fence.
October comes around and a hole starts to appear in the centre of the site, this I can only presume is to be the car park and good entrance for the shops.
Into 2010 and February when I return again and the framework on what is to be Debenhams has taken on the shape of the building it is to be.
Come June the tower cranes are much in evidence and work is carrying on at apace frames for buildings are going up and concrete towers appearing, the hole is disappearing and the garage on the corner had gone.
Come September and steelwork has is now in place along Park way and the sight of the clock tower in town disappearing fast.
October sees the steel is now all the way along Park way and any view of the centre of the site is disappeared and my vantage point in Camp Hobson is just showing the steelwork.
November shows even more steel which now blocks off any view that had been left as the floors were in place and safety rails erected.
February 2011 is the next time I get to visit and great changes have happened. The Debenhams building is not far off completing. Not far up the road a new building is well on the way to being finished on the old garage site.
June is my next visit and much has gone on. The blue wooden fence has been removed and part of Park Way is closed off so the road can be resurfaced. The buildings are well on their way to being finished and Debenhams building looks to be the first one completed. The flats facing the park now have brickwork going on. The building which was being built on the old garage site is now a hotel though the photo I took of the place was blurred so I'll take another the next time I go back. The work on the site is due to be finished in October so hopefully I should have updated before then.
Not long after I wrote this I was contacted by Costain who after seeing the article asked if I would like to go on site to take some photos. I finally managed to get there in August after having my visit put off due to a dreadful accident which befell one of the workers when his forklift overturned killing him. The next few pictures are what I took on my way to the site and update the external photos I have been taking. I hope to get back again before the site opens
This is an update with some of the photo's I took from on the site with my thanks to Costain for showing me round.
27th October 2011 and the retail part opens Link
I still have to update the photo's but hope to do so soon.
Due to personal commitments I was unable to get back to Newbury till December where I found a lot had changed. The carpark was open so that was the first place I visited as we had to park the car. Next was to get the lift to M&S. After going round the shops I quickly went along parkway updating my photo's and going to Camp Hopsons to get a few photo's from the first floor of the Furniture department. before heading into the shopping area of Parkway to see some of the pedestrian areas before returning to the car to go home. Parkway has changed though there is still some areas to finish off. Finally my thanks to Camp Hopsons for letting me get some photo's from their store. I hope to get a couple more updates before ending this article.
Feb 2012 and a shopping trip to Newbury with my wife gave the opertunity to updat some more.
Most work looks to have been compreated with just the John Lewis shop to be finished and the appartments on the top of the development.
April 2012 after a walk along the Kennet we stopped off at Parkway and found the John Lewis At Home store now open. One of the tower cranes is still there and work is being done on the apartments but the place looks good now.