Newark town centre businesses asked to shape the future of Newark Town CentrePosted on: Friday, January 20, 2023
This week 92 town centre businesses attended Newark Town Hall to share their ideas for developing and regenerating Newark town centre.
Organised by the Cultural Heart of Newark project officers, town centre businesses were invited to listen to presentations before considering what improvements they would like to see in the town centre. With £1.5m available for capital improvements, ideas were flowing from local businesses and retailers, including improved security measures, increased seating, and improved directional signage.
Melanie Slack from Sweetpea Flowers by Design said, “It was absolutely fantastic that two engagement events were organised so that those who work in the town centre every day can provide ideas based on what our customers tell us. I know that signage is a huge problem in the town centre with many people coming into my shop simply to ask directions. I am looking forward to seeing what recommendations are taken forward to come to fruition in the town centre.”
Local retailers heard from Chris Turner, Chief Executive of British BIDs, who explained about Business Improvement Districts (BIDs). With many town centres already operating successful BID models, Chris suggested that Newark is an ideal town to consider such an idea. A BID involves local retailers and businesses coming together to form a company which may employ a member of staff in a BID Manager role.
Funding for this venture would come from businesses with a determined rateable value, meaning smaller shop owners may not be affected. Studies would need to be undertaken by the venture to support the approach.
Examples of a large national companies, including some we already have in Newark, providing funding to local BIDs were given. The company, set up by an independent body of business representatives, then decides how it will spend that money to bring more people into the town centre. With examples given of successful BID models operating across the UK, it certainly provided some food for thought.
During Chris’ presentation, attendees also heard that Newark, as a town centre, compared to the rest of the UK is in a very good position. With “a beautiful and historical ambience,” Newark has massive potential to become a destination of choice.
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Co-Chair of Newark Towns Fund Board said, “We are committed to transforming Newark making it a destination people want to live, work and visit. After securing £25m to deliver eight priority projects for Newark, it is absolutely vital that we continue to engage with local residents, retailers and businesses to ensure these projects align with what is needed and wanted.
“This week 92 local Newark town centre businesses met with us to share their ideas on what we should do with funds that we have allocated specifically to Newark Town Centre. We had lots of great ideas and we will now consider those and build them into recommendations on how the money will be spent.
“This is just one example of how we are supporting and listening to local businesses, regenerating our town centre and helping to raise the image of Newark as a destination of choice.”
The Cultural Heart of Newark is one of eight priority projects identified in Newark Towns Fund Board’s successful bid to Government for £25m in funding to improve our historic town centre. Local businesses were asked to not only to consider what they would like to see, but also their opinions on a BID model for Newark and how they would like to be involved in future projects.
James Singer from Simply Sweet said, “I hope that more events like this are held because it’s great to be part of something so inspiring for our town centre. I know our ideas were heard and will be taken on board when considering how £1.5m should be invested in our town centre. It’s brilliant that this is happening and I’m looking forward to an exciting future for Newark.”
To find out more about the Newark Towns Fund visit the Newark and Sherwood District Council website.
Newark town centre businesses wishing to attend future events can contact Bonnie Mitchell, Cultural Heart of Newark Programme Development Officer: firstname.lastname@example.org