District Council launches survey about our town centres at night

Posted on: Wednesday, February 23, 2022

COVID-19 has had a detrimental impact on the economy and specifically the evening economy of the district, with hospitality, accommodation, attractions, and services being particularly affected.  Newark and Sherwood District Council is, today, launching a public survey to gather your views on what you currently think about the evening and night time in your nearest town centre.  Their aim is to look at how they can address any issues you raise to help make our town centres places you want to visit which, in turn, will help businesses flourish and fulfil their potential. 

The District Council is running this survey as part of a multi-layered approach reviewing the evening offer across the district with the vision of creating an ‘Evening and Night-Time Economy Strategy’.  As well as a public survey, the District Council is running a series of workshops with local businesses, tourism attractions, community groups and hospitality providers, organising a night-time field study and it has employed a specialist consultant to help set realistic short, medium and long term actions that will help establish a vibrant, inclusive and safe evening and night-time economy.

It is hoped that the research and implementation of the strategy will result in greater footfall, dwell time and visitor spending during the evening and night-time in our town centres, promoting economic growth across the district and providing opportunities for businesses post-pandemic.

The strategy will focus on the district’s four main urban and economic centres – Newark, Southwell, Ollerton and Edwinstowe – and will be written to cater to each area’s specialities.  

The survey assesses your current concerns, whether these are around safety, lack of provision or transportation issues for example.  The survey then moves on to looking at what you want from your town centres to help inform what changes could be made longer term.

Examples of future changes that could be outlaid in the strategy include:

  • Late-night shopping and markets
  • Promotion of heritage assets through late openings of attractions and night-time tours
  • Early evening entertainment and cultural facilities such as the theatre, cinema and art galleries
  • Changes to cafés, restaurant and bar services
  • Street performances and outdoor evening events during the summer to make greater use of open spaces and longer periods of daylight
  • Festive events during the winter
  • Changes in the operation of leisure facilities such as sports centres, libraries, bowling alleys and activity centres

If you complete the survey online, you will also be offered the option to further share your views on what the strategy should include in a series of more detailed focus groups which will take place online.

Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This strategy comes at a really crucial time for our economy.  It is vital that we do all we can to help businesses flourish and fulfil their potential after what has been an incredibly challenging time for our town centres following the pandemic.  However, equally as important is providing something that you, as our community, want.

“Feedback from residents, businesses and various groups will inform our work on the Evening and Night-time Strategy to make sure that it reflects what is needed, and importantly wanted, in our excellent town centres.

“I would like to reassure you that this is not about opening late night clubs or so forth, this is instead about delivering a strategy that meets the needs and wants of our community, our businesses and all those who care passionately about our town centres.  It is part of our bigger ambition for our wonderful district, making it a destination of choice for those who live, work, study and visit here.”

After a strict procurement process to engage expertise to research the strategy, Night Time Economy Solutions (NTES) was awarded the consultancy contract with the District Council. NTES specialise in working with towns and cities to design creative solutions and strategies for the night-time economy.  Their expertise and advice will be crucial at providing a strategy that will make change for the better.

The online survey is open to the general public until 11 March 2022 and is available at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/newarksherwoodsurvey