Plans to drive town centre vibrancy to be submitted to government

Posted on: Monday, March 21, 2022

Plans to drive town centre regeneration and create an improved identity for Newark through an enhanced programme of events, activities and improvements to the public realm have been approved to be submitted to the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC).

Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Policy and Finance Committee approved the submission of the outline business case for the ‘Cultural Heart of Newark’ project, one of nine priority projects as part of Newark’s Towns Fund Deal, in advance of the drawdown of funds and developing a full business case. In total, an allocation of £500,000 will be secured for 2022/23.

The next steps in the project, subject to the drawdown of funds, include establishing a Cultural Heart of Newark Project Delivery Board, led by Newark Town Council, expanding the current programme of town centre events and the recruitment of two new positions: Towns Centre Events Officer and Programme Development Officer. The Delivery Board will have a primary task of developing the Full Business Case during 2022.

Receipt of the funds will also allow for the implementation of a new annual events programme and the development of some key areas of the public realm, which may include the Market Place, Riverside Park and Newark Castle gardens and surrounding streets. In addition, more seating, greenery and an attractive entrance to the town centre will be considered for development. 

The project will develop the vibrancy and cultural experience of Newark town centre while supporting growth in footfall, dwell time and consumer expenditure on retail, hospitality and other services in the town. 

The project plans to:

  1. Enhance existing public spaces to provide spaces to dwell
  2. Explore wayfinding to facilitate better movement and accessibility within the town
  3. Explore street tree planting, where appropriate
  4. Encourage and promote events which align with the town’s aspirations 
  5. Consider the use of art within the public realm
  6. Create a network of public spaces that can be used for events
  7. Ensure the spaces retain a sense of identity 

The project has been evaluated to provide increased visitor numbers and improved resident, business and visitor satisfaction. In addition, the project aims to reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, increase tree planting and biodiversity and bring a positive benefit-cost ratio (BCR).

Councillor David Lloyd, Co-Chair of Newark Towns Fund Board and Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Following the approval of the outline business case, we can now submit our plans to the DLUHC for the drawdown of funds, develop a full business case and begin work on this exciting project.

“The Cultural Heart of Newark will help to drive economic growth in the town, fulfil the potential of Newark’s natural and heritage advantages and increase town centre footfall, dwell time, spend and vibrancy. If we can succeed in getting more residents and visitors into our Town then, in turn, this should help our shops, pubs and restaurants to succeed and increase the offer as well”