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Claude
As I walked down the hill from the war memorial at the junction of Speen Lane and Old Bath Road, towards Northcroft leisure centre, my eye was drawn to the multi-storey tower in the town centre.

Now the Sterling Cables tower is no more, is the BT exchange tower (is that its name?) now the tallest and ugliest building in the town? Ok, maybe there are uglier buildings, and I appreciate that's subjective and some will have grown to love it, but there can't be many that are bigger.

Who owns it? What's its official name? What's inside? How many floors are there and are they all in use? Have you ever been inside? What's the likelihood of it being knocked down and redeveloped into residential property?

What do you know about it?
Biker1
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
Who owns it?

BT sold off most of it's property to a leasing company. Can't remember their name.
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
What's its official name?

Newbury Telephone Exchange.
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
What's inside?

Telecommunications equipment
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
How many floors are there and are they all in use?

6 plus basement and no!
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
Have you ever been inside?

Yes.
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
What's the likelihood of it being knocked down and redeveloped into residential property?

I would say almost zero!
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 2 2017, 03:01 PM) *
What do you know about it?

A fair bit!
Andy Capp
I understand the BT tower sits on top of a pile of telecoms cable and no one has a clue where they go.
x2lls
It is a prime place for conversion to housing. It was done in Basingstoke, ex IBM building.
Biker1
QUOTE (x2lls @ Jun 2 2017, 09:57 PM) *
It is a prime place for conversion to housing. It was done in Basingstoke, ex IBM building.

No it's not.
IBM in Basingstoke was basically a block of offices, easy to relocate or close.
A telephone exchange is a much bigger challenge!
On the edge
Interesting site, from the telephone exchange to the Post Office all previously GPO property and probably in single ownership. Sure the cabling is complex, but it's all at ground level. The space above was really needed for all the electro mechanical kit. Doubtless a big job to do a re wire, but well worth it when the whole site can be re developed. Personally, I suspect, after the 'Urban Village' the next one will be here.
Andy Capp
I suspect it will only become available when the lines become redundant.
On the edge
There are some interesting examples where alterations have been made, often over a time period, to significantly compress the space needed for the old node exchanges. Running fibre to street boxes is one of them; so it's not going to be too long for redundancy.
Claude
Interesting stuff, thanks for the responses.

At the end of the day, money talks. If there's enough to be made from redeveloping the site then it will only be a matter of time, but without knowing the extent of the costs for redeploying existing infrastructure then I guess we just have to wait and see. As someone said, perhaps more will happen when some of the gubbins reaches end of life.

Personally I find it a real blot on the landscape of the town I love and I'd welcome its demolition and replacement with something a bit more '21st century'.
motormad
I hope it isn't made into flats / houses... town is busy enough as it is!!!

blackdog
QUOTE (motormad @ Jun 9 2017, 12:30 PM) *
I hope it isn't made into flats / houses... town is busy enough as it is!!!

Still thousands more flats/houses to be built - which is better, turning the BT tower into flats or building on another local field? PS the answer is it doesn't matter, they'll do both anyway.
Biker1
QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 6 2017, 03:06 PM) *
without knowing the extent of the costs for redeploying existing infrastructure then I guess we just have to wait and see.

A lot, a lot!!

QUOTE (Claude @ Jun 6 2017, 03:06 PM) *
As someone said, perhaps more will happen when some of the gubbins reaches end of life.

What you may not understand, and maybe Andy earlier in his post about local lines, is that the main problem is the number of cables that run through and terminate there.
They are not just local lines Andy but major "trunk" and local area cables that link all the other exchanges together.
Smaller exchanges in our local area link into Newbury which, in turn, is linked to larger switching centres which then link to other major centres in the country. All part of the network that I am now using to send this post.
In addition to that there is also the mobile phone network and other major "trunk" cables that pass through the exchange.
The cost of moving this network to a new site (and don't forget it has to carry on working wile you do it) is astronomical.
je suis Charlie
So, let's get this right, you've got an empty building, full of cables, made out of copper, in Newbury. Hmm, fink I see a major business opportunity here. 😎
On the edge
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jun 11 2017, 09:58 AM) *
So, let's get this right, you've got an empty building, full of cables, made out of copper, in Newbury. Hmm, fink I see a major business opportunity here. 😎


Absoluley! Indeed replacing the copper with shiny fibre optics and a significant decline in landline basic telephone traffic is also significantly reducing the size, but also the number of 'exchanges'. There are also now trunk route competitor lines. As a side issue, part of the reason BT fear the severing off of Openreach.
Exhausted
Just across the road is an even more lucrative site for redevelopment, the almost redundant Newbury Police Station and the court buildings.
On the edge
QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 11 2017, 02:00 PM) *
Just across the road is an even more lucrative site for redevelopment, the almost redundant Newbury Police Station and the court buildings.


So then, given that the Telephone Exchange, Sorting Office and Post Office are on a site owned by just one organisation and immediately across the road there was another redundant site ioccupied Police Station AND defunct Courts owned by another organisation. Then the new Hambridge Road to Sainsburys road gets built and it's triples all round.

Ever wondered why WBCs big 'vision' is really just a couple of sides of A4. All waiting for the new population expected with the new electric trains.
je suis Charlie
Just ask "what would JC do?)
Exhausted
QUOTE (On the edge @ Jun 11 2017, 02:42 PM) *
Then the new Hambridge Road to Sainsburys road gets built and it's triples all round. Ever wondered why WBCs big 'vision' is really just a couple of sides of A4. All waiting for the new population expected with the new electric trains.


That's already approved and grants obtained. The road meanders through the now flattened Sterling Estate from and including the "road to nowhere" by the Mole outlet (the Sainsbury inner roundabout).

On the edge
QUOTE (Exhausted @ Jun 11 2017, 03:31 PM) *
That's already approved and grants obtained. The road meanders through the now flattened Sterling Estate from and including the "road to nowhere" by the Mole outlet (the Sainsbury inner roundabout).

Quite, just needs the homes built round it.
On the edge
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jun 11 2017, 03:02 PM) *
Just ask "what would JC do?)


Need you ask? Make them Council houses. At least it would keep these incomers from your gates Je Suise, so there's a silver lining! tongue.gif
je suis Charlie
QUOTE (On the edge @ Jun 11 2017, 03:41 PM) *
Need you ask? Make them Council houses. At least it would keep these incomers from your gates Je Suise, so there's a silver lining! tongue.gif

Talking of which, only just got off the phone to someone who does 'electric' gate installation. My disappointment was tangible when he explained that it only meant they opened and closed using said electricity. Anyone know if Amazon sell mantraps? 😯
Biker1
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jun 11 2017, 09:58 AM) *
So, let's get this right, you've got an empty building, full of cables, made out of copper, in Newbury. Hmm, fink I see a major business opportunity here. ��

Not empty no, but much of it is.
Fibre cables also.
All would need to be diverted, without a break in service, to a new site.
It all comes in through some big manholes in Bear Lane (and also through the aerials on the roof!).
Oh and all the exchange, transmission, ADSL and cellular network equipment needs powering!
je suis Charlie
QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jun 11 2017, 07:16 PM) *
Not empty no, but much of it is.
Fibre cables also.
All would need to be diverted, without a break in service, to a new site.
It all comes in through some big manholes in Bear Lane (and also through the aerials on the roof!).
Oh and all the exchange, transmission, ADSL and cellular network equipment needs powering!

Nah, no market for fibre, but copper! Bosh ! n the jobs a goodun.
TallDarkAndHandsome
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Jun 11 2017, 03:49 PM) *
Talking of which, only just got off the phone to someone who does 'electric' gate installation. My disappointment was tangible when he explained that it only meant they opened and closed using said electricity. Anyone know if Amazon sell mantraps? ��


Gotta keep the peasants out somehow. They are getting emboldened. Gated and electrified. With the appropriate warnings. Thats the way. Oh. And big vicious dogs. Release the hounds.....
dannyboy
QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jun 11 2017, 07:16 PM) *
Not empty no, but much of it is.
.
Oh and all the exchange, transmission, ADSL and cellular network equipment needs powering!



Most of it was empty 20 years back. Is the **** ********* still in the basement, or is that still classified information?
Claude
QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 16 2017, 01:25 PM) *
Most of it was empty 20 years back. Is the **** ********* still in the basement, or is that still classified information?

Loch Ness Monster?
Biker1
QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 16 2017, 01:25 PM) *
Most of it was empty 20 years back. Is the **** ********* still in the basement, or is that still classified information?

No, that all went over 20 years ago!!
je suis Charlie
QUOTE (dannyboy @ Jun 16 2017, 01:25 PM) *
Most of it was empty 20 years back. Is the **** ********* still in the basement, or is that still classified information?

Labour MP?
dannyboy
QUOTE (Biker1 @ Jun 16 2017, 05:16 PM) *
No, that all went over 20 years ago!!



Don't remember seeing it removed....
Biker1
Really??!!! laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
(By the way it is not the "vast amount of telecommunications technology, which would prove costly to relocate," that is the main problem. It is the vast amount of network cables that feed into it that would prove costly to relocate.)
Andy Capp
QUOTE (Biker1 @ Oct 4 2017, 05:56 AM) *
Really??!!! laugh.gif laugh.gif laugh.gif
(By the way it is not the "vast amount of telecommunications technology, which would prove costly to relocate," that is the main problem. It is the vast amount of network cables that feed into it that would prove costly to relocate.)

I noticed that too, I think a better phrase would be: “a vast amount of telecommunications infrastructure that would be costly to relocate”.
je suis Charlie
Ahhh, The Hanging Garden of Newbury, how sweet! People will travel miles, just to see it. Or maybe not.
SirWilliam
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Oct 4 2017, 08:06 AM) *
Ahhh, The Hanging Garden of Newbury, how sweet! People will travel miles, just to see it. Or maybe not.


Of interest , when asked how much it would cost to clad it in an aesthetically pleasing shade of Hedera the reply was that though unknown a similar project cost £ 100,000. Now call me old fashioned but that seems an awful lot for a packet of seeds . Indeed if left long enough nature will do the job for you , but of course that would negate the need for some bright spark to forward the idea in the first place .

As for the future of the building ? Well as it is now completely outdated little doubt a preservation order will be slapped on it shortly and it will become a tourist attraction along with heritage status .
je suis Charlie
Turn it into Jeremy's West Berks lair, mount the all seeing eye of social justice on top to sniff out dissent in the ranks of the non believers, hang some Tories down the sides, a few slogans and banners and its job done and goodnight Vienna.
SirWilliam
The inference that the Tory troops have a similarity with a parasitic creeper is a little harsh , as is the deference afforded to the "chosen one" . If I was JC, ( no2 ) , I would be concerned over being overtly worshipped in light of what the populace handed out to JC no 1.

" He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy " tongue.gif
je suis Charlie
QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Oct 4 2017, 11:21 AM) *
The inference that the Tory troops have a similarity with a parasitic creeper is a little harsh , as is the deference afforded to the "chosen one" . If I was JC, ( no2 ) , I would be concerned over being overtly worshipped in light of what the populace handed out to JC no 1.

" He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy " tongue.gif

Stop using overtly Christian metaphors please, you know it upsets Andy! smile.gif
SirWilliam
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Oct 4 2017, 01:26 PM) *
Stop using overtly Christian metaphors please, you know it upsets Andy! smile.gif


Sorry don't know any other tooth fairy fables .
Biker1
I'm sure with a reasonable amount of spend the equipment in the building could be concentrated on the lower 2 or 3 floors.
The rest could then either be demolished or turned into living accommodation.
The "eyesore" could be masked with cladding.
WHOOPS! A little controversial there!
I wonder how fireproof a "living wall" is? unsure.gif
Biker1
link laugh.gif laugh.gif
NTC playing silly buggers again!!??
Does this plan come from the same brains as the Greenham Control Tower shambles?
SirWilliam
Could someone explain why it is perfectly ok to spend a six figure amount of tax payers money on prettying up a supposed eyesore yet they bulk at forking out some lose change on a school crossing lady ?
Like the good book sayeth ," if thine eye offends thee cast it out ". Quite happy to oblige if asked .
On the edge
QUOTE (Biker1 @ Nov 8 2017, 10:21 AM) *
link laugh.gif laugh.gif
NTC playing silly buggers again!!??
Does this plan come from the same brains as the Greenham Control Tower shambles?


Now then, WBC's next big development Market Street Urban Village has just gone down the slipway. So, what next? Aaaah, Cheap Street, the GPO site, doubtless all owned by a couple of post privatisation spin offs. Only fly in the ointment, the exchange tower. What we need is a public fuss to try and get it moved....step forward NTC. And guess who'll be paying for these great ideas!
blackdog
QUOTE (SirWilliam @ Nov 8 2017, 01:31 PM) *
Could someone explain why it is perfectly ok to spend a six figure amount of tax payers money on prettying up a supposed eyesore yet they bulk at forking out some lose change on a school crossing lady ?
Like the good book sayeth ," if thine eye offends thee cast it out ". Quite happy to oblige if asked .


Could someone explain where it is suggested that any public money should be spent on this?
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Nov 8 2017, 03:06 PM) *
Could someone explain where it is suggested that any public money should be spent on this?


I don't think there is any suggestion that public money should be spent, although a good few are thinking the landlord or the occupier BT ought to cough up. I must admit, I'm nonplussed as to why Councillors are even discussing this micro issue; particularly given the rather more serious issues that should be attracting their focus and attention. I certainly haven't heard any serious disquiet.

Maintaining and developing a good built environment is very important. Good townscapes are developed over many years and ought to contain rather more than Disney film set designs. Arguably, the Exchange is a reasonably well designed and preserved example of its type - why does it need hiding or demolishing? Liking it or not is down to personal taste, and fashions come and go.

So in development terms, the real planning strategists ought to be protecting it. It's certainly a far better building than the rather dreadful very modern construction directly opposite on Bear Lane. For these reasons, the cynic in me smells a rat.
je suis Charlie
To be honest, I don't even see it anymore. Certainly don't spend my time worrying about it.
Andy Capp
QUOTE (je suis Charlie @ Nov 8 2017, 05:57 PM) *
To be honest, I don't even see it anymore. Certainly don't spend my time worrying about it.

Agreed.
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Nov 8 2017, 05:15 PM) *
I don't think there is any suggestion that public money should be spent, although a good few are thinking the landlord or the occupier BT ought to cough up. I must admit, I'm nonplussed as to why Councillors are even discussing this micro issue; particularly given the rather more serious issues that should be attracting their focus and attention. I certainly haven't heard any serious disquiet.


One councillor is banging on about what she's keen on, are any other councillors even discussing it? I guess it gets in the paper because she's a councillor, but I'm pretty sure this is a personal opinion that is nothing to do with the council.

On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Nov 8 2017, 11:06 PM) *
One councillor is banging on about what she's keen on, are any other councillors even discussing it? I guess it gets in the paper because she's a councillor, but I'm pretty sure this is a personal opinion that is nothing to do with the council.


She is an elected member of NTC and a very vocal one so just as NWN has, unless she specifically says otherwise, this is what she is campaigning for. This is just how the Greenham Tower project started.

Once you've been elected to public office, your own views when expressed in public can't be considered personal.
blackdog
QUOTE (On the edge @ Nov 9 2017, 09:29 AM) *
She is an elected member of NTC and a very vocal one so just as NWN has, unless she specifically says otherwise, this is what she is campaigning for. This is just how the Greenham Tower project started.

Once you've been elected to public office, your own views when expressed in public can't be considered personal.


Equally a comment from a member of the opposition party cannot be seen as council policy - or an indication that the council are discussing it.
On the edge
QUOTE (blackdog @ Nov 9 2017, 03:58 PM) *
Equally a comment from a member of the opposition party cannot be seen as council policy - or an indication that the council are discussing it.


Very true.

(But just to be naughty, NTC's website always used to claim Councillors were apolitical!)
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