Work on former M&S store set to start this summer

Posted on: Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Newark and Sherwood District Council is one step closer to transforming the empty former M&S building in Newark Town Centre.  Once an award of contract has been made, it hopes to appoint a developer to progress 32 Stodman Street in the next few weeks into an attractive hub made up of homes and retail units.

Plans see the build of 29 high-quality residential homes in the heart of Newark which will provide a new town centre housing offer with an eye-catching and vibrant design.  Plans also include two refurbished retail units which will improve Newark’s retail offer with the aim of attracting more people into the town centre.

Councillor David Lloyd, Co-Chair of Newark Town Board and Leader at Newark and Sherwood District Council, explains: “We want our town centres to have a thriving future where living, working, shopping, leisure and enjoyment come together. While Newark performs well compared to the UK average for numbers of vacant town centre retail units, it’s important that we continue to do all we can to attract people.

“Retail change shouldn’t mean town centre decline.  It should be an opportunity.  By repurposing an important site in the centre of the town, we hope to inject new life in the area with the aim to make the heart of Newark a great place to live and shop. Newark is unique and has so much to offer already with fantastic independent retails sitting alongside national stores, but this development really will add to the vitality of our historic market town.

“I am delighted that we are hoping to appoint a building contractor imminently and that work will hopefully start this summer!”

Already the District Council has completed preliminary work at the empty site, including the removal of large amounts of asbestos and clearance of internal partition walls to ready the site for the proposed re-development.

While inflationary pressures have caused the costs to rise on this development, the District Council will not stand by and leave it vacant.  Despite a vigorous search and engagement process where a long list of national traders had been approached to find a retailer to occupy the store as it is, no one has stepped forward as the current unit is too large for most traders in town centre locations.  Cost increases were predicted but will not affect the viability of the project and generating a repayment and return on the investment. 

Once approval is sought from Cabinet on 21 February 2023, the District Council will pursue development.

Subject to Cabinet approval and agreement with the appointed contractor, work on the site could commence in late summer this year. The construction phase is likely to begin around Christmas 2023 with completion in summer 2025. 

The Stodman Street development is one of many projects being funded by Newark Towns Board’s successful application to the Government’s Towns Fund initiative.  It is being delivered by Newark and Sherwood District Council whose aim it is to breathe new life in Newark town centre.  Other projects include the £3m restoration of Newark Castle, a £2.1m cultural project aiming to provide a varied and exciting events programme alongside investments to improve the town centre even further and the £4.4m Newark Gateway project aiming to bring more business and employment opportunities to Newark.