Aspirational plans for Newark picking up pacePosted on: Friday, January 21, 2022
Last year Newark Towns Fund Board were successful in their submission for £25 million to the government’s Towns Fund initiative designed to help improve town centres across the UK. With a range of ambitious projects for Newark picking up pace, the next two to three years will see some huge changes and developments in our historic and much loved town centre.
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Co-Chair of the Towns Fund Board explains: “Since the successful application to government, there has been a lot of hard work going on in the background in order to bring these aspirational projects to fruition. I really would like to take this opportunity to thank all those residents who responded to our consultation and told us what was important to you as this feedback really helped to shape the projects that are now beginning to flourish.
“Residents may have seen some changes that some projects are bringing to the area, with new buildings being developed or regenerated, but it is important to recognise that others too are making leaps and bounds towards their physical implementation.”
Newark’s Town Investment Plan focused on nine priority projects for the district.
The International Air Space and Training Institute (IASTI) which will create new jobs locally and nationally in not just aviation but also engineering, has welcomed its first students in temporary accommodation while planning permission for its permanent home has been applied for. If approved, work will start on the site on Great North Road later this year. The IASTI is just one project that will help transform the educational provision in Newark for young people.
Work has already been completed on the expansion of Newark Construction College which has created brand new educational pathways for local residents into innovative construction while also upskilling local people in trades such as gas fitting, bricklaying and stone-masonry.
In addition, behind the scenes work is progressing on developing a ‘Smart Innovation, Supply Chain and Logistics Enterprise Area for businesses along the Great North Road zone. Feedback from a consultation with existing local businesses is being used to inform what courses are required at both the University of Nottingham and the University of Lincoln to ensure that local people are training to meet the needs of this brand new enterprise hub, which will not only create a centre of logistical excellence with regional and national reach but provide hundreds of jobs for local people.
Focusing on improving the visitor experience in Newark is also a key pillar of the ambition for Newark where projects to increase footfall in the town centre will be welcomed by local retailers and hospitality providers. Plans for the Newark Castle Gatehouse project are progressing with planning permission submitted for what is arguably one of the district’s most recognisable and historical assets. Plans to sympathetically restore the Castle Gatehouse include transforming it into an immersive visitor experience filled with fascinating interpretation about its 900 year story, a new entrance on Beastmarket Hill, an accessible entrance pavilion, a visitor reception in the grounds and a separate facility beneath the Gatehouse Bridge, which will host educational outreach activities and events and act as a community hub.
Work is also continuing on all other projects to transform Newark into a town which embraces cycling, walking, public transport and enhancing green routes. Current projects in the town centre include repurposing the currently empty former Marks & Spencer building, increasing residential premises while also providing incentivised rents and rates to new retail units. The Newark Heart project will look at developing an entire town centre offer with a series of events and activities for residents and visitors with the aim to make Newark a place people want to live, work and visit. Improving the cycling provision within the town centre is another project that will have some exciting updates to share shortly.
In addition, work has started on the new YMCA Newark and Sherwood Community and Activity Village. This inclusive establishment will be capable of providing the population of Newark with access to learning, leisure sports, skills, early careers and general wellbeing activities. The centre will also include a new climbing wall, Skate Park and cycling facilities which will be enjoyed by many generations to come.
Councillor Lloyd continues: “Seeing our aspirational plans coming to life really will make a difference to Newark, making it a destination for people to study, work, live and visit. In turn, this will increase spending in our town centre which, following the pandemic, will be welcomed by our local hospitality providers and retailers. And in doing so, the circle of investment can begin. Over the next two to three years, these will become projects that will not only sustain the town, but enhance it for the future, and I am excited to see them starting to come to life to the benefit of our residents and visitors.
“I’ve always said it but Newark is key to the north and these ambitious projects really will put us on the map and will allow us to unlock our town’s full potential.”
While the District Council is keen to drive forward these ambitious changes in Newark, they are also beginning to looking at replicating ambition in the Sherwood area and will shortly be submitting a bid to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund for £20m.