Shaping the future of Newark Town Centre

Posted on: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Newark is a well-connected town, rich in history, featuring a vast number of unique and independent shops. It’s home to Newark Castle, the National Civil War Centre, as well as a host of local businesses. It’s well loved by residents and visitors but like any town, it too, has its challenges. 

Today, the District Council is, once again, stepping in and looking at how it can further support and enhance the district’s historic core to make it a better place for residents, visitors, and businesses.

The District Council is aware that there needs to be more resilience in the local economy, a drive-in market confidence and improvements to movement and connectivity to ensure the future sustainability of the town centre. In order to preserve the town’s rich history and to attract more people to visit the area, Newark and Sherwood District Council, working in partnership with Historic England, have chosen a multi-disciplinary team to develop a masterplan and design code for the centre of Newark that is inspiring and deliverable.

Allies and Morrison, an architecture and urban planning practice, have been awarded the contract. The firm have developed a number of successful masterplan projects in towns across the UK. This includes Bath, Hammersmith and Fulham, Hounslow, York, King’s Cross Central and more.

Councillor David Lloyd, Co-Chair of Newark Town Board and Leader at Newark and Sherwood District Council, explains: “I’m delighted that Allies and Morrison have been chosen to take this work on with the aim to improve our public realm and unlock investment opportunities within the area while also retaining the town’s rich history.

“Areas within the town centre, key transport connections, opportunities for development will be assessed and interventions for improvements will be suggested.

“It is absolutely vital that the development of this masterplan engages with local residents, retailers and businesses so their voices are heard to ensure everything proposed aligns with what is needed and wanted in the town.

Allies and Morrison will conduct a full consultation exercise on the development of the masterplan. They’ll be collecting data while visiting the town and will be understanding the issues and character of the area by conducting assessments and engaging with local businesses and residents.

“From the feedback and information they collect, they will then supply us with a masterplan and design code for what the town could look like in the future.

“We are committed to planning ahead for a sustainable future for Newark and making it a destination people want to live, work and visit. Through this masterplan and design code, we hope to obtain a clear vision for the future of Newark town centre that improves the area while still maintaining the character that makes our town unique.

”Allies and Morrison have a wealth of experience working on big projects in major cities and towns across the UK. In York, they worked with the local District Council to masterplan the most significant urban expansion in York’s modern history. They’ve helped put together a vision for transforming underused land into vibrant and distinctive residential neighbourhoods, cultural spaces, and a high-quality commercial quarter.”

This masterplan work, which is set to be completed around Christmas 2023, will align with a number of projects already planned in the town centre including the Newark Cultural Heart, one of the many Newark Town Board projects being delivered as part of the successful £25million Towns Fund. This funding is from the Government which seeks to provide events while enhancing the town’s infrastructure.  The masterplan will also work alongside the High Street Heritage Action Zone project which aims to restore beautiful historical buildings in the Town Centre.

Historic England Regional Director for the Midlands, Louise Brennan, said: "We are delighted to be partnering with the council to fund this forward-looking project, plotting a sustainable future for one of the country's most attractive historic market towns. Identified as a 'Gem Town' by the Council for British Archaeology in 1964, Newark's beautiful streets and riverside are the result of nearly six decades of careful decisions over development and design. The town centre masterplan and design code should set the conditions for the next 60 years, enabling adaptation for new uses, progress towards a low carbon future and the protecting of Newark's rich heritage."