Tuesday 17th October 2017
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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the November 2011 issue

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Action is being taken to ensure the market town’s fantastic potential as a great place to live, work and play doesn’t go unnoticed!

Business leaders are out to raise the town’s profile through their latest initiative, ‘Brand Newark’.

The ultimate aim is that no one, especially those capable of driving up Newark’s wealth and creating much needed jobs, slips through the net when it comes to attracting inward investment, whether that be retail, industrial or office based.

Newark is already an attractive place to shop, especially for people who enjoy visiting niche traders who offer something a little different, as well as national name stores and bustling markets.

New developments are also springing up, which will go some way to deterring people from travelling elsewhere for their shopping and everyday services. And well-known companies serving customers across the globe are also based on the town’s industrial estates.

But Newark Business Club members also recognise that there is potentially much more to play for when it comes to attracting newcomers to the town and persuading relocating companies that this is a destination well worth a second look.

Progress is being made as this lively market town looks forward to the opening of a big name supermarket and reports success in lettings on a local business park, ahead of the fast-looming festive season.

Business Club chairman, James Fountain said: “Newark Business Club’s action group’s key focus is developing Brand Newark.

“The purpose of this is to demonstrate to investors and those wishing to move to Newark Town that it is a good place to do business and a great place to live, work and play.

“What the Business Club has done is commission a piece of research which will define the current make-up of the area and identify gaps in the market for opportunities for businesses.”

This project will flag up the businesses which are already established in the Newark area and the type of sectors which they serve, highlighting potential ‘openings’ in the supply chain, where newcomers might forge working relationships with other businesses and also create new jobs.

“It will highlight that Newark is the centre of the UK and that it has fantastic communications links, with the A1 running north to south and excellent train links to London, Leeds and Edinburgh which have been recently improved,” said Mr Fountain.

Newark is also poised to benefit from the dualling of the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool – strengthening its links with the wider East Midlands and beyond and making the town even more easily accessible.

The study is being carried out by the Business Club and Newark Town Partnership. It is aimed to have the research finished and a strategy drawn up by the New Year.

“What we want to do is to get major businesses and Newark and Sherwood District and the county council to endorse our strategy. Then we want to approach local enterprise partnerships, such as D2N2 (Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire LEP) and Lincolnshire for funding to bring potential investors here to look at the area and also to allow us to carry out wider promotional work.”

Action is underway against a backdrop of activity, which is already injecting extra vitality into Newark and areas alongside the A1.

Work on Beaumond Cross, an exciting new extension to Newark town centre is gathering pace and a 60,000 sq ft Asda foodstore and a 400-space car park are due to open before the end of this month (November).

A new doctor’s surgery – a relocation from old premises on Lombard Street – has already opened, along with a new Lloyds pharmacy.

Commercial agent Banks Long & Co director, James Butcher said: “The next phase of the shopping development should be ready for occupation by June next year and our discussions are continuing with a number of national multiple retailers who are interested in taking the majority of space within this phase.

“The final phase, on the site of the former Robin Hood Hotel, will start once planning and listed building consent can be obtained, which we are hopeful should be done before the end of this year,” added Mr Butcher.

Together, both phases of this development will create about 40,000 sq ft of new shopping space and there will also be potential in most of the units to add mezzanine floors, doubling the available area.

MF Strawson, which is developing phases one and two of Beaumond Cross, has also begun to redevelop nearby Martindale House, to create six small shop units, for letting to local small businesses.

These will be ready by Christmas. Mr Butcher said potential tenants have already been asking about these facilities and terms have already been agreed on one unit.

Meanwhile, Gladman Developments has announced the opening of the £13 million Fernwood Business Park which offers traditional office space, on flexible terms, hot-desking facilities and other ‘forward-thinking’ business arrangements.

Chartered surveyor Hodgson Elkington LLP, which is promoting the high-specification office complex next to the A1 on the outskirts of Newark, said it has already attracted four new occupiers, including Amalgam Training.

Others include locally based enterprises, which will be making the most of the hot-desking facilities at the centre. This trend originated in the late 1980s to early 1990s and involves the use of one desk which is shared between several people, who use it at different times.

All inclusive rents at this development will give businesses the chance to concentrate on doing what they do best, leaving the landlord to worry about distracting property management issues.

Hodgson Elkington spokesman, Tom Elkington said: “With the growth of mobility services, hot-desking can also include the routing of voice and other messaging services to any location where the user is able to log in to their secure corporate network.

“Therefore their telephone number, email and instant messaging can be routed to their location on the network and no longer to just their physical desk.

“Even in these extremely difficult market conditions we are confident, based on the current level of enquiries, that further lettings will be made in the not so distant future. The building is being offered on attractive terms and we encourage all businesses to have a look at what is available.”

Newark & Sherwood also boasts Growth Point Status, which has been awarded by the government, thanks to the area’s excellent communication links, potential for regeneration and the need for plenty of affordable housing. This is paving the way for thousands of homes.

New housing is being centred on land south of Newark, at Hawton village, where The Catesby Property Group has put in an outline planning application for 3,150 new homes and 15,000 sq metres of employment space. Proposals also feature two local centres, two primary schools, a health centre and a country park.

They also include the delivery of the £20 million Southern Link Road, a relief road going around the south of Newark and linking the A46 at Farndon to the A1 at Balderton.

Local people still have the chance to have their say on how land in the Newark and Sherwood District should be earmarked for housing, employment and shopping developments.

A six-week consultation on the authority’s Allocations and Development Management Options report – which sets out which areas of land in the district can be used for what purpose – ends on 14th November.

This report is part of the Local Development Framework which is a blueprint for how the District will develop over the coming years.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the proposed allocations can go along to meetings taking place at Lowdham on Thursday, 27th October (WI Hall 3pm-8pm) or Sutton-on-Trent on Friday, 28th October (Community Centre 4pm-8pm) or read the relative documents by clicking onto www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/planningpolicy

CIVIL WAR MUSEUM
Newark’s Old Magnus Buildings could become home to a Civil War Museum.

Newark was a key location in the English Civil War and Newark and Sherwood District Council remains keen to see these buildings brought back into use as a new museum, incorporating a new Civil War Gallery.

A mainstay of the Royalist cause, the town was besieged by Parliamentarians three times between February 1643 and November 1645, with battles being fought alongside the banks of the River Trent.

The final siege ended in May 1646 when the town accepted an order to surrender from Charles I. Cromwell’s forces destroyed Newark’s defences, leaving its castle in ruins.

Newark & Sherwood has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund and has already received some development backing, but is hoping for £2.8 million of support for the £4.43 million museum project.

The Old Magnus site features a number of buildings, including a magnificent Tudor Hall, a Georgian townhouse, a Victorian schoolroom and outbuildings with the oldest parts dating back to 1529.

Exhibitions would be complemented by visitor facilities, interpretation and education spaces and, in particular, would feature new Civil War galleries and highlights from the district’s archaeological and other collections.

NEWARK SHOWGROUND
Newark Showground is owned by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, one of the oldest in the country, which dates back to 1799, but it is through its varied present day indoor and outdoor events that its name is widely known throughout the UK.

As well as the society’s own agricultural County Show, which is held in May, and the Newark Heritage & Vintage Tractor Show, due to take place this month, there are 500 other events hosted there each year.

The Society has owned the site since the 1960s but its reputation for running Newark showground as a successful and busy events venue really only started to develop when the current CEO, Adrian Johnston, took over in the late 1990s. 

With easy access to all the major roads and good rail links, Newark Showground is home to county and national events such as antiques and collectors’ fairs, LAMMA, Americana and Hamfest. But it also remains very much part of the local community. 

The Newark Business Club holds its monthly meetings there and many local dog shows are run by enthusiastic clubs during the weekends, while the Cedric Ford Pavilion and the Sir Stuart Goodwin Pavilions are a popular choice for wedding receptions or presentation nights.

PA to the chief executive, Una-Marie Palin said: “The site has fabulous road and rail access, being close to the A1, A46 and A17 and only seventy-five minutes by train from London. 

“With ample opportunity to park thousands of cars, free of charge, successful shows occasionally bring increased traffic to the local area but the team works hard to ensure good relationships with our neighbours by keeping channels of communication open with local residents and businesses to advise them of forthcoming events and to share traffic plan information. 

“The plus side, of course, is that large numbers of visitors to Newark Showground has a knock-on effect for our businesses, from hotels and B&Bs, to restaurants, shops and not forgetting the petrol stations and taxi firms.”

Major events taking place at the showground this month include the Newark Vintage Tractor & Heritage Show between 12th - 13th November, the Used Fishing Tackle Show between 26th - 27th November and the Autojumble on 1st December – an event which is held regularly throughout the year.

NEWARK SHOPPING
Newark is well worth a visit if you enjoy browsing market stalls and finding great individual businesses – some of which aren’t always immediately obvious on first glance.

But take time out to go exploring and you will discover a lovely mix of independent traders, offering something different in the way of fashions, jewellery, gifts and places to eat out, as well as branches of national stores.

One of the town’s success stories, Stray’s Bookshop, Coffee Bar and Tapas Restaurant is continuing to buck the current economic trend.

It has seized an opportunity to make life more comfortable for its customers, staff – and the jazz musicians who appear each week – by expanding into what was formerly a neighbouring vacant property.

Stray’s now occupies four adjoining buildings, stretching from the corner of Boar Lane to numbers 20, 18 and now 16 Middlegate, and the multi-faceted business also employs more than thirty people.

Manager, Mat Short said: “We’ve quickly outgrown each new space that we’ve acquired. The latest expansion will make it easier to find a table and be served quicker, making long queues a thing of the past. It also means we can open earlier and broaden our day-long food offer to include hot and cold breakfasts, lunchtime specials and more tapas dishes alongside our range of sandwiches and ‘Mum’s’ sinfully delicious cakes!

“We’re also bringing forward the opening time for the Tapas restaurant to 5pm and introducing a more laid-back early evening menu, great for young families or for friends meeting for a light meal and a chat straight after work.”

The family-owned-and-run business began trading in Newark in 1994 as a bookshop in the historic Buttermarket. It moved to its current site in 2004 and adopted the name of the previous occupant, Stray’s pet food store - a Newark landmark.

The thriving bookshop augmented the atmospheric coffee bar and, a year ago, Tapas y Stray’s restaurant was launched. The rambling, connected site is unified by a constant jazz soundtrack through the day and by regular live jazz at weekends.

According to Mat, jazz and tapas lovers will enjoy the changes: “The restaurant will have more jazz-side tables so that diners can see and be closer to the band and the extra space will make it possible to book bigger name bands for one-off ticketed events. We are also planning the occasional solo jazz piano treat for daytime customers.”

An additional bonus is that the reconfigured space has created a discrete new party area seating up to twenty-five people. It is already proving popular for Christmas parties this year.

As well as the expansion, the appointment of experienced executive chef Warren Jones is set to take the daytime menu to a new level.

Chef Warren has a wealth of experience at the highest levels, with more than twenty years’ service in some of London’s top hotels and spells as a private chef for celebrities Robbie Williams, Dudley Moore, hairstylist Vidal Sassoon and even the Sultan of Brunei.

In 2006, he catered for the high-profile wedding of Chelsea and England footballer, Ashley Cole and Girls Aloud star, Cheryl Tweedy.

Another of Newark’s successful businesses is town centre fashion house Jane Young, which has two shops in Chain Lane.

The business stocks more than seventy leading designer labels in sizes ranging from 8 to 22 and caters for all ages and for all occasions. Its new autumn and winter collections are arriving daily.

You can see what Jane Young has to offer for the party season and the winter months at a special fashion show on Thursday, 17th November. Just visit the business anytime between 10am and 4pm to view the latest available styles.

In search of a piece of jewellery or a high quality watch? Then you might choose to visit Andrew Michaels in Stodman Street, where you will find everything from diamond rings and necklaces to top-name watches – offered by a business which attracts customers from miles around.

Shoppers should also make a date to enjoy Carols at Christmas in the Market Place in December and make sure they visit A Stunning Christmas Tree Exhibition in St Mary Magdalene Parish Church. This events runs from 3rd-11th December and features ninety magnificent trees.

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