Bringing activity to the Buttermarket once more

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
April 2019

The town of Newark has never been one to rest on its laurels and is always striving to improve its retail centre, investment opportunities in the area and scope for local businesses to grow. By Melanie Burton.
This year is no exception, with a bright new future being lined up for Newark’s iconic Buttermarket and Royal Exchange, a campaign to make the town a cleaner and safer place in which to live and visit and a plan of action which includes improving the transport infrastructure to reduce congestion, encourage inward investment and improve local shopping centres.

The Grade I listed Buttermarket and former Royal Exchange have been brought back into public ownership through a partnership between Newark and Sherwood District Council and Newark Town Council.

They link the market place with Middlegate and have the Town Hall, its magnificent ballroom and the town museum above. The two councils are working in partnership to revitalise the two key buildings, which were left largely empty for a number of months.

Both councils regard the buildings as playing a major and strategic role in boosting the town’s retail, cultural and leisure offer.

Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, Councillor David Lloyd said: “Retailers are facing increasingly difficult times and councils need to take an active and leading role in shaping our town centres, their economies and leisure aspirations.

“These are important buildings and we will be working alongside local businesses to ensure they are brimming with activity again and help contribute to the further development of Newark as a thriving town.”

Improving local shopping centres and the quality of life for local residents and businesses is one of the key focal points of Newark and Sherwood District Council’s newly approved community plan. It also includes improving the cleanliness and appearance of the local environment, reducing crime and anti-social behaviour to make the town a more attractive and safer place to live, work and visit and reducing levels of deprivation.

Improving the area’s transport infra-structure to reduce congestion and encourage inward investment is another vital element of the community plan.

Councillor Lloyd said: “The council carried out a major consultation exercise which generated more than 11,000 responses from the public. These responses have helped to inform our new Community Plan so that we can be confident we are working on the things that matter most to local people and businesses.

“Our new plan is a combination of ensuring that the everyday essentials are in place – like feeling safe and having somewhere decent to live – alongside tackling strategic challenges that include the decline in town centres and national rise in homelessness.

“Over the next four years, we’ll be investing in enhanced CCTV provision; helping to fund the much-needed Southern Link Road; supporting improved leisure facilities; funding flood mitigation works and delivering improvements to Newark and other town centres.”

New frontline community protection officers have been recruited to deal with anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.

Their remit is to crack down on groups and individuals who make life a misery or who spoil and rubbish the district.

They will have the power to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs) on those who flout the law and will be working with the community to encourage a responsible approach to looking after the environment.

The council believes that, in addition to the focus on community litter picks and other initiatives, employing the new officers will increase public awareness of the issues, ensure effective enforcement and penalise those who break the law.

The officers will spend the vast majority of their time in the community, working directly with the public, the police, residents, businesses, key partners and parish and town councils, and across all the council’s service areas.

District Council Deputy Leader Keith Girling said: “We are continually working to make the district a better place to live, work and visit and the new powers given to staff in addition to our new Community Protection Officers will increase our ability to penalise those who flout the law in a number of areas.”

Newark is a traditional market town with excellent transport links, from easy access to the major motorway networks via the A1 and the A46, to rail links direct to London and the North through the LNER line as well as Nottingham, Leicester and Lincoln through the East Midlands Trains network.

No wonder it is home to a diverse range of businesses from long-established independent family-run concerns which have been part of the fabric of the street scene for years, to manufacturing and engineering firms with a global presence that are less visible but nevertheless have chosen Newark as a base.

Take the award-winning independent Ann et Vin wine shop and wine merchants situated on Castlegate, the former Great North Road which is now regarded as the town’s wining and dining boulevard, as an example.

It is stocked with distinctive, affordable wines personally selected by the owner Ann Hayes who has worked in the wine trade for almost forty years, beginning her career with John Townend and Sons of Hull in 1983. Ann’s passion for wine then took her to Bottoms Up in Tunbridge Wells before moving to Newark on Trent in 1991. With her team, she relocated the business from Stodman Street to Bargate, where she built up a loyal army of customers and a leading position amongst the town’s retailers.

The idea of Ann et Vin was born essentially to provide exceptional wines at affordable prices, supported by knowledgeable, unstuffy service and assistance. It began trading on 5th November 2004 and it is now renowned far and wide.

Strays is another name synonymous with Newark, having sold books to the people of Newark since 1994, starting out on paste tables as a temporary bookstall in the Town Hall. Specialising in books for children and young adults, it also stocks local titles, history, travel and literature, including school texts and now operates from premises in Boar Lane.

Since then the business has expanded into Middlegate with the establishment of its coffee shop in December 2003, when co-founders and siblings Mat Short and Liz Mack realised the only way to guarantee a great coffee was to open their own coffee shop!

It is also well known for its jazz nights having hosted some great artists since 2007, initially with the Newark Jazz Festival then through its own Tapas and Jazz nights. The 2019 programme continues with Saturday Jazz Sessions from January to the end of April.

One key business that has helped put Newark on the worldwide map is NSK which is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of bearings, linear technology and steering systems and whose Newark plant is part of the global company established in Japan in 1916. Formerly RHP, the company joined the international precision engineering company NSK in 1990. It now employs 500 people producing several thousand high precision bearings for the European market.

The company also has its own large technology centre in Newark covering an area of more than 5,600 square metres.

Then there is Hoval Ltd, which designs and manufactures commercial heating systems. It is recognised as a leading European pioneer and innovator in environmentally-friendly heating and cooling systems and holds the Royal Warrant to HM The Queen as Boiler Manufacturers and Engineers, as suppliers to Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

Hoval originally entered the UK in 1958 and purchased the Farrar boiler works in Newark in 1961. It is from the same site that the UK business is still run today. The original Farrar boiler works was established in Newark in 1887.

New for this year are three Horse of the Year Qualifiers, including British Ridden Heavy Horse of the Year and, following the success of the dedicated ‘Heavies Ring’ in 2018, the Heavy Horse ‘Village’ will have even more to entertain, including ‘working horse’ demonstrations. These working horses will also be taking part in the Heritage Harvesting Parade in the Main Ring on both days.

This first show of the season showcases the best cattle, sheep, goats and pigs alongside superb equine events, including majestic ‘heavies’ and first-class showjumping. Classes and competitions run all day on both days.

In addition to the usual farmyard favourites will be gun dogs, hunting hounds, giant tortoises, and birds of prey. Children will particularly enjoy the antics of the animals in the Countryside Area and alongside old favourites like the Sheep Show will be fascinating demonstrations of heritage crafts such as coracle making and fashioning traditional hats from straw. A welcome sight will be the return of last year’s very popular 8ft stilted animatronic character, Froojamaflip, and his hilarious sidekick, Fred the Gardener. Featuring as the main attraction is Dzhigitovka, an exciting Cossack trick-riding spectacular straight from Russia, with fabulously costumed riders and daredevil horses, performing to crowd-pleasing music and bringing a flavour of the legendary warriors on horseback, masters of sword, archery and outstanding gymnastic skills.

Advance tickets available online at only £10 per adult, children up to 17yrs admitted FREE.

Thanks to its excellent transport Newark has a range of diverse businesses that call it home.

From well-established independent shopkeepers and high street retailers to service providers and manufacturers, its business base is huge.

Luckily Newark has a business club that is recognised as one of the most pro-active and influential in the East Midlands. Newark Business Club was formed in 2001 by a small group of local businesses and now represents more than 1,000 members.

It has forged excellent partnerships with Newark and Sherwood District Council, Newark Town Council, Nottinghamshire County Council and Members of Parliament in Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire to ensure that the voice of business in Newark is heard.

One of the special features of the club is its Action Group which campaigns for a better business environment and, since its formation, has taken a lead and successfully lobbied with partners and stakeholders for service and timetable improvements on the East Coast rail lines, pressed for faster rollout of superfast broadband for businesses in rural areas and improvements to services on the Castle Line between Nottingham, Newark and Lincoln.

It has also pushed for free Christmas parking for shoppers, improvements to the market place and its attractiveness and the option to look into establishing a BID (Business Improvement District).
The club also engages with charities and volunteer groups and works alongside schools and colleges. Networking is a key feature and there are plenty of opportunities through its monthly breakfast meetings and other business events.

Fifteen IT have been proudly providing IT support and web based services for Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire since 2016.

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CityX is the creator of the largest B2B Expo in the Greater Lincolnshire area with the Lincolnshire Business Expo. This phenomenally popular event allowed for businesses within Lincolnshire to showcase themselves to other businesses within the county. But business doesn’t just happen within Lincolnshire and being able to exhibit to new customers across geographic borders is absolutely essential.

Hence Expo East was born, in sponsorship with Invest Newark and Sherwood. The only business expo to bring together the counties bordering Lincolnshire, encouraging business with our neighbours. The event will be held on Thursday 16th May at the Newark Showground in the George Stephenson Exhibition Hall.

If you would like to promote your company, products or services, are looking to expand your supply chain, your customer list or wish to showcase yourself to the East of England then this is the expo for you.

Local bespoke kitchen company Hill Farm Furniture has won an international award for the fifth year running.

The company, which is based at Dry Doddington, Near Newark, has received a Best of Houzz 2019 award, which means that one of its kitchen projects was one of the most popular images viewed by the 40 million monthly unique users that visit the home renovation and design website.

Architects, interior designers, landscapers, and ordinary people that comprise the Houzz community viewed the project over 140,000 times.

Jo Ashwin, project manager at Hill Farm Furniture said: “This is a real achievement for us and we’re delighted.

“We believe in personal service and as a family-run business every one of our projects is overseen by one of the Ashwin family. That’s been the case for thirty years. The award is a reflection of the quality of all of the kitchens and free-standing furniture that we design and install.”

The family-run business is celebrating thirty years designing and manufacturing beautiful bespoke kitchens and furniture, which is all hand-crafted from solid wood. All Hill Farm Furniture pieces are tailor-made to specifically blend in with a client’s property and their lifestyle.

As well as bespoke kitchens, the team, which is led by family members Mike, Chris and Jo Ashwin, creates inspired individual pieces for the whole house including libraries, studies, sculleries, larders, utilities and boot rooms.

A bright new future is being lined up for Newark’s Buttermarket and Royal Exchange thanks to a partnership between Newark & Sherwood District Council and Newark Town Council.

Councillor Max Cope, deputy leader of Newark Town Council, said: “There is an exciting opportunity for the councils to work together to breathe new investment and life into a prime location in the middle of the town.

“I am convinced that they will have a major and strategic role in boosting the town’s retail, cultural and leisure offer.”

Since 2014 the property has been owned by an overseas company and managed by remote agents. While there has been significant recent investment in the fabric of the buildings, concerns have been raised at the occupancy of existing units.

The property was unexpectedly presented to the market via a London auction in December 2018 when both councils saw an opportunity to bring them back into local ownership.

The buildings were secured prior to auction at a cost of £800,000 – significantly less than the £1.3m paid by the previous owners four years ago.

Situated at the rear of the Town Hall, the Buttermarket was designed as a covered market hall and opened on 13 October 1884.

The Buttermarket Shopping Centre comprises 28 retail units, over two floors which includes a popular first floor restaurant.

We have five pairs of tickets to give away to the Nottinghamshire County Show on 11th & 12th May. For your chance to win please answer the following question:
In which ring will the working horses be taking part in the Heritage Harvesting Parade?

Send your entry to: Nottinghamshire County Show Competition, Lincolnshire Life Magazine, 9 Checkpoint Court, Sadler Road, Lincoln LN6 3PW or enter online at no later than 26th April 2019. For full terms and conditions visit our website:

T&Cs – Minimum age for entry is 18. Prize is as described and cannot be transferred or exchanged for cash. Additional expenses are not included.

County Life Ltd reserves the right to pass your information on to the supplier. If you do not wish for your details to be used for future marketing please indicate this on postal entries or leave the box unticked on web entries.

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