Newark thinks big

Dining Out

Words by:
Melanie Burton
Featured in:
December 2017

With an upturn in visitor numbers since the establishment of the National Civil War Centre in the town and other major projects set to boost the local economy, the already thriving market town has much to look forward to.
The town’s business club is one of the most successful in the East Midlands region with more than 1,000 members from small, medium and large sized businesses and unemployment continues to be at an historic all-time low. With existing employers creating more jobs and others relocating to the town, 2018 is looking to be a promising year for the town.

Chairman of Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Economic Development Committee, Councillor David Lloyd said it was all good news for the town.

The council’s ‘Think Big’ loan fund for businesses has proved highly successful over the last two years, helping businesses to expand and create jobs when the banks have felt unable to assist. But it has been reviewed to take into consideration new and start-up businesses.

“We identified that an added outcome to this process was the ability to engage with businesses and help them refine their business plans to unlock capital from the banks without the need for our assistance,” said Councillor Lloyd.

“In so doing, and looking at the plethora of grants, loans and advice out there, we also identified there is no easy route for new/starting businesses to find the help and support that they need. With this in mind, we have revised our loan fund to include ‘Pathfinder’ loans and support for business start-ups.”

The changes have meant that an increasing number of businesses and entrepreneurs are contacting the council and have been directed to the support schemes best suited to them.

“We have partnered with other business advice providers to ensure that we all have a joined-up approach to supporting business growth and inward investment,” said Councillor Lloyd.

Much work has also been going on to co-ordinate businesses involved in tourism and to promote the Newark area to visitors.

“Any activity to promote our area puts us on the map. Any visitor might also be a potential entrepreneur or business person,” said Councillor Lloyd.

“We are also looking into increasing electricity charging points in car parks to get ahead of the game in promoting Newark to those who will want to use such facilities.”

As Newark has actively been promoted as being central to the UK located as it is at a point where two major A-roads converge and having two rail lines, it makes an ideal venue for conferences, events and festivals.

“It is not before time that we have begun to combine our work on tourism promotion, heritage, economic development, inward investment and infrastructure,” he said.

“All have their merit and purpose, but combined they deliver added-value and a complimentary message – Come to Newark, the Key to the North.

“Collectively, these activities are benefitting our local economy and sustaining the town centre. Economic development is not solely about getting people to invest in our town, it is about ensuring that our town provides the services, attractions, jobs, retail and vitality that residents want to enjoy on their doorstep.”

Residents and visitors to the district are now reaping the benefits of significant investments in the area and improved services provided at better value.

The Newark Sports and Fitness Centre, which opened last year, has enjoyed a surge in memberships and continues to attract large numbers of visitors to its modern, purpose-built facilities on Bowbridge Road.

Run by the council-owned company Active4Today, the centre cost £68,279 less than the original £9,420,933 contract cost plan. The final cost for the work was £9,352,654. The facilities are fifty per cent larger than the former Grove Leisure Centre and offer all-day access for customers to the sports hall and swimming pools.

Overall, the cost of the council’s leisure and sports development services have been reduced from £1,271,356 in 2011/12 to the current figure in 2017/18 of £117,000. This has been achieved through efficiencies, the establishment of Active4Today which generates VAT and business rates benefits and the investment in the new sports and fitness centre, which has been able to meet increased demand and generate new income.

The final cost of physically integrating the Palace Theatre and National Civil War Centre was £1,528,137, an underspend against budget of £87,482. A single management structure also replaced separate management teams that previously existed for both the NCWC and theatre.
Councillor Roger Blaney, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “These major capital projects were delivered on time and under budget for the benefit of our customers and will deliver ongoing savings for the council.

“Both these facilities bring significant benefits to the town and wider district in terms of health, wellbeing, sports and culture and it is ever more important to find ways of delivering these services more efficiently.

“The council will be looking to build on these successes through the move from its headquarters at Kelham Hall to Castle House where, in sharing office accommodation with a range of other public sector partners, we will make further substantial savings for the council taxpayer.”

Newark is also going to be playing its part in providing renewable energy to the National Grid at times of most demand. Permission has been given to Barn Energy Ltd for a £16m hydropower station to be built on the River Trent at Cromwell Weir, near Newark.

The plan is that three water turbines will generate 8m kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, which is enough to power 3,000 average UK households.

Barn Energy’s James Vernon said the power station would also provide an upstream passage for fish and eels for the first time since the weir was built in 1908.

“Low Head Hydropower brings an ideal new future for the UK’s navigational weirs,” he said. “LHHP provides industrial regeneration of run-down waterway assets that are in dire need of it.

“Being extremely long lived projects, they will provide permanent renewable additions to the UK’s energy infrastructure. They also ensure that vital environmental improvements such as fish passage over these substantial blocks in the river are provided.”

There is also good news for Newark’s British Sugar factory following the lifting of European quotas on sugar production.It means the company can now benefit from this year’s bumper crop and there could be more jobs on the way.

The quota system was controlled by the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy and limited the amount of sugar that could be sold to the European market.

The change gives the British beet sugar industry, which is the one of the most efficient in the world, an opportunity to grow by as much as fifty per cent, putting an end to a requirement to stockpile out-of-quota sugar produced during strong harvest years.

Paul Kenward, the managing director of British Sugar, said the lifting of the European quotas was a red letter day for the home-grown sugar industry.

“It gives us an opportunity to grow and prosper with no limit on the amount of sugar we can sell in the UK, Europe and around the world.

The Newark factory employs 135 staff and an additional 30 to 40 workers during the beet campaign. Plans for the future of the former Robin Hood Hotel, which has been derelict for almost twenty years, have still not been resolved.

Consent had been given by the council to demolish the building and replace it with new retail units and a 66-bed Travelodge Hotel. However, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government called in the application and will make the final decision on its future following a public inquiry.

‘Enthusiasm breeds success’ is the motto of Newark Business Club and it certainly practices what it preaches. It is one of the most vibrant in the East Midlands, boasting more than 1,000 members representing small, large and medium sized businesses in the town and its surrounding area.

Established back in 2001, it works hard to ensure that businesses can flourish within the town, investment is forthcoming and the right infrastructure is in place to cope with future growth.

Committee member James Fountain, chairman of the action group, said the club has lobbied hard for improved road, rail and broadband facilities.

“Investment has made sure Newark’s businesses remain competitive,” he said. “We are encouraged by the investment made by Newark & Sherwood District Council and the town council in improving the market place, relaying out some of the stalls to make it more user friendly.

“With new housing planned, the Business Club has been pushing hard to ensure the correct infrastructure is in place to ensure that the town can cope with future growth.

“In addition, new sports facilities and the availability of development land on the edge of the town are all points to encourage inward investment.”

Newark has very low unemployment rates and one of the things the Business Club aims to push for is the adequate provision of training for the workforce of the future.

“We need to make sure there is a business structure and that we continue to have access to labour and the European Community,” said James. “We need training to ensure we have the correct people for businesses as they develop in the future and businesses also need to have access to the broader market outside the UK.

“The Business Club works with a wide range of stakeholders including Nottinghamshire County Council, MPs and the East Midlands Council to ensure that the business voice of Newark is heard by those making the key investment decisions.”

Festivals and events in the town have been successful in bringing new visitors in and James said the club is encouraged by the fact that they spend money with retailers, hoteliers and the small bed and breakfasts in the town.

“The National Civil War Centre is proving to be a big attraction and planned investment in the castle will further develop Newark’s credentials as a go-to destination,” said James.

“Technology is also a key driver and the Silicon Forest initiative launched by N&SDC will help encourage more high tech companies to invest in Newark.”

The development of the National Civil War Museum together with the Palace Theatre and the Visitor Information Centre in the heart of Newark helps bring in nearly 85,000 visitors a year to the town, generating a £1m boost to the local economy.

Now there is another ambitious project on the cards which looks set to do the same, making Newark even more of a must-see destination. The plan is to turn Newark Castle’s historic Gatehouse into a major new visitor attraction.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has been awarded a first-round pass by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the project, which aims to restore the Gatehouse area of the Castle (where King John died 800 years ago) with the addition of a roof, floors and windows.

This will both protect the structure from future degradation and open up a series of new rooms which will allow for additional interpretation and exhibitions. In addition a new entrance into the gatehouse via the Castle’s North West tower will allow for a separate, paying attraction to be developed which will greatly assist with the sustainability of the site.

Development funding of £84,000, made possible by National Lottery players has been awarded to help the council progress its plans to a stage where it can apply for a full grant at a later date.

Newark Castle has stood on the banks of the River Trent for 900 years and is a focal point for Newark and a source of pride for residents.

The scheduled ancient monument is one of the finest surviving Norman Gatehouses in the country. The Castle was largely reduced to a shell of its former self after Oliver Cromwell ordered it to be put beyond military use during the seventeenth-century English Civil Wars. However, much of the original Gatehouse structure remains today.

The project will house a key educational resource featuring King John, Norman crime and punishment, the outlaw subculture that surrounded the mythical Nottinghamshire hero Robin Hood and the castle’s pivotal role in Newark’s Civil War history.

Last year the Castle marked the 800th anniversary of King John’s death with a re-enactment from Regia Anglorum.

With the renovations to the Castle visitors will get a real sense of what life was like when King John spent his final hours in the Gatehouse.

Castle warden Floss Newman said: “We are so excited to have received this Heritage Lottery funding. It will bring a whole new dimension to the Castle and enrich Newark’s history even more.”

Creating striking practical gardens that are exciting to look at, enjoyable to use and specific to the customer’s needs is the aim of family design business Applewhite Garden Design.

Director, Nikki Applewhite and her team certainly know what they are doing, having restored and maintained the gardens at Belvoir Castle for six years.

Based in Lincolnshire, Applewhite Garden Design has contracts in Nottinghamshire and Yorkshire. The team looks after modern and traditional, large or small gardens in and around the East of England, including Grantham, Nottingham, Rutland and Boston.

Its three disciplines are garden design, garden maintenance and garden renovation.

“We can design you a garden from scratch or develop it in stages,” explained Nikki, who inherited her love of gardening from her mother.

“We are a very practical team with twenty years of knowledge and experience. Most importantly of all, we are passionate about our work.”

Visit Moore & Scrupps, Newark to create jewellery which reflects your personality with the original and unique designs from Trollbeads. Add your favourite beads and charms to bracelets, bangles, rings, necklaces and more. Established since 1976, Trollbeads jewellery is made of the highest quality materials, including 18-carat gold, sterling silver, Italian glass, freshwater pearls, amber and precious stones.

The experienced staff at Moore & Scrupps will be delighted to help you create a piece of jewellery which reflects your story and your individuality.

As well as being the area’s stockists of Trollbeads, you will also find contemporary designer collections from Coeur de Lion; unique shapes and styles from Hot Diamonds; delicate and interchangeable, Italian inspired jewellery from Emozioni; exceptional British designs by Dower and Hall and beautiful Italian collections by Ti Sento. There are also exciting ranges of watches from leading houses including Radley.

Be sure to visit the friendly staff at Moore & Scrupps, Newark this Christmas and don’t forget – they can also help you with repairs. You will also find branches of this family business at Moore & Scrupps, Bourne and Faze Four, Lincoln.

The Newark Antiques Centre is one of the largest and busiest antiques centres in the region. Situated in the heart of the historic Newark-on-Trent, one of the UK’s best known centres of the antiques trade, the Newark Antiques Centre is a much loved and respected source for dealers and the public alike and especially loved with international collectors.

Established in 1988, the centre is located in a former chapel and schoolroom, the Newark Independent Congregational Chapel. The chapel was completed in 1823 and is a building steeped in history.

The Centre’s dealers include a wide range of experts in their field. We have a large selection of antiques and collectables housed in more than 58 stalls and 80 cabinets, all selling a wide range of: Victorian, Edwardian, Period Furniture, Antiquarian Books, Vintage Textiles, French Painted Furniture, Ironmongery, Porcelain and Ceramics, Bijouterie, Lighting, Coins, Medals and Militaria, Soft Furnishing, Silver, Copper and Brass, Silver and Gold Jewellery.

The tea room serves a mouthwatering selection of homemade cakes and meals with hot and cold beverages.Visit Newark Antiques Centre, Regent House, Newark or for more information visit

When working with owner managed businesses, we are seeing a growing number switching from the traditional diesel cars to electric or hybrid versions. This in part has been prompted by the government’s announcement of the banning of new diesel cars from 2040 and the possibility of introducing charging zones in cities to reduce the levels of nitrogen oxide.

Although there are advantages of switching to electric or hybrid, such as reduced taxable benefit in kind for the employee or director, there are other considerations including the initial cost of purchasing an electric car, the running costs and the tax relief available. There are also practical issues of making sure the car meets the needs of the business.

Simon Shaw of Duncan & Toplis discusses some of the most important aspects and how an electric car could benefit your business. To read the full article, please visit our

Established in 1794, Martin Wilkinson Jewellers is a family run, independent jewellers based in Newark. Customers can be assured of exceptional craftsmanship as their products are individually and carefully selected by the two generations involved in the business. With a large range of hand picked, well made jewellery they are able to offer quality pieces at great prices.

Their knowledge and expertise ensures a wedding ring service second to none, with a vast selection offering endless possibilities in all precious metals. Their ranges include everything from modern to traditional and bespoke.

They also specialise in diamond and coloured gemstones perfect for engagements, anniversaries and that special gift.

Customers to the Grade II listed premises can browse a range of brands including Citizen, Clogau, Accurist, Rotary, Bulova, Cath Kidston, Fiorelli and many more.

Family-run business Hill Farm Furniture, based in Dry Doddington, is celebrating 30 years of 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 kitchens, the team, which is led by family members Mike, Chris and Jo Ashwin, create inspired individual pieces for the whole house including libraries, studies, sculleries, larders, utilities and boot rooms.

Everything created at Hill Farm is bespoke to each client. Customers won’t find off-the shelf pieces and the team believes in delivering a personal service, where each client deals directly with one of the family.

Hill Farm Furniture Ltd, Clensey Lane, Dry Doddington, Newark NG23 5HT, Tel: 01636 626063, Web:,

Never miss a copy!

Big savings when you take out a subscription.