A SUBSTANTIAL redevelopment project has reached a key milestone after developers made a contribution of £1m to the council.

Plans to construct 232 homes on Market Street in Newbury continue to gather momentum following the funding agreement with Grainger PLC.

The project is also supported by West Berkshire Council and Network Rail and forms a key part of the Newbury Vision 2026 scheme to deliver projects, such as Parkway, the Newbury cinema and town centre pedestrian zone.

Nick Carter, chief executive of the council, said: “The Market Street development is a fantastic vote of confidence in Newbury’s economy.

"It will create more than 220 new full-time jobs over the next four years and is expected to provide more than £4m of additional expenditure in local shops and services each year.

"West Berkshire Council will also receive £1.78m of government funding towards additional commuter parking which will be another great asset provided as part of this scheme.”

The sizeable contribution comes on top of the announcement that Newbury will soon start to benefit from electrification works, currently being conducted by Network Rail.

Improvements to the south side of the railway station are now in the advanced planning stage and are expected to improve the current rail interface with buses.

Kirsten Durie, Network Rail's principal development manager, added: “This scheme will not only bring benefits to people using the station, but to the whole town.

"Our wider programme of investment, including electrification, will pave the way for new trains and a more reliable railway which supports and encourages economic growth across the region."

As well as housing and commercial space, the partnership will provide additional parking spaces in the town centre and a new bus station.

Chris Fletcher, development director at Grainger PLC, said: “We are delighted that this important project is now moving forward. It is a result of our successful ongoing partnership with West Berkshire Council, Network Rail and the local community.

"We look forward to delivering this fantastic scheme for Newbury which will deliver 232 new, high quality homes and improve important aspects in and around the station.”