Town on the Trent

Words by:
Glynis Fox
Featured in:
November 2010

The attractive market town of Newark, situated along the river Trent, offers a wealth of history and things to do, providing its status as an appealing tourist and visitor centre.
There’s a great determination amongst the business community to make Newark stand-out from the crowd, whether people want to shop, enjoy local history or be based in a location with good services and excellent transport links.

And members of the Newark Business Club are leading the way by throwing their weight behind a range of initiatives designed to celebrate the wealth of talent and Expertise based in the town centre and within its industrial estates

Efforts are also being made to encourage more people to take time to find what they need on their own doorstep, rather than travel long distances to shop, as Business Club chairman James Fountain revealed.

Newark has a lively and enterprising community and the club has well over 1,000 members, including those from outside the immediate area, such as Sheffield.

But, perhaps this is hardly surprising, given the town’s superb location right alongside the A1.

Mr Fountain, who is also creative director of Sutton-on-Trent advertising and design agency Bazzoo, said his chairmanship is giving him a great opportunity to get under the skin of the club’s membership and find out how businesses want to see Newark progress.

“Initiatives which we have got involved in recently include the Newark Business Awards, which are taking place at Kelham Hall on 1st December,” he said.

“We are very interested in the community of Newark, which is why we have decided to sponsor the award for Business Commitment to the Community category.”

The Business Club also tries to come up with ideas which will help to boost local trade and ensure Newark retains its great mix of businesses and attracts more vital jobs-creators.

“We are trying to encourage people to shop in the town and doing this by running a special competition, which will give one lucky shopper £1,000 to spend this Christmastime,” said Mr Fountain.

Newark has a good variety of stores, from multi-nationals such as Marks & Spencer and Boots, to independents like the butcher Porter Bros, jeweller Andrew Michaels and women’s fashion boutiques, such as Jane Young and Shirt Sleeves.

To be in with a chance to win the £1,000 prize, people have to collect eight stickers from stores taking part in the scheme and put these into a booklet, which then gets entered into a draw.

The Siege Campaign is another Business Club initiative which has been running in the town for some time. It allows shoppers to benefit from discounts being offered by shops and other businesses which have signed up to the scheme.

Mr Fountain said that it is recognised that empty commercial premises do nothing to help the appearance of market towns, but the selective use of artwork can give shoppers the impression that a building is actually in use.

“One way in which we have helped in this respect, is by the Business Club sponsoring murals put up at Ye Olde Market Hotel in Boar Lane and Castegate,” he said.

Newark Town Council, operations manager, James Radley, said that, in common with many other places, Newark has empty premises in the town centre.

However, some shops have been refurbished and painted up over the summer months, which has made a difference.

A few new businesses have also opened in the town, which is welcome news.

“The manager of The Buttermarket Shopping Arcade has also reported that all of his empty units are in the process of being let, so perhaps that’s a sign of better times to come,” said Mr Radley.

There’s something happening in Newark’s Market Place every day of the week, except Tuesdays, so this is seen by many as the heart of the town.

“I think it is fair to say that most people see the market as a significant asset to the town and that it is often the reason people visit Newark in the first place.

Town centre businesses also regard the market as the lifeblood of the town centre” said Mr Radley.

Apart from its retailers and town centre-based businesses, Newark has several well-known manufacturers, food industry and service businesses, including those based on its industrial estates and alongside the A1.

These include Hoval Ltd, Vodafone, Timico, Lauren’s Patisseries, Curry’s

Under Growth Point Status, Newark is also in line for 4,000 more new homes, so it is a good job it has such great road and mainline rail links. Work currently underway to dual the stretch of the A46 between Newark and Widmerpool will improve road links with the wider East Midlands.

“I believe that most people see the dualling as something positive for Newark.”

It strengthens its position from the east and west to the A1, which will inevitably bring new prospects for the town,” said Mr Radley.

Brownhills Motorhomes represents seventeen of the world’s top motorhome manufacturers and its flagship branch is on the outskirts of Newark.

2010 is proving to be a very busy year for the company, which welcomes hundreds of visitors to Newark every week and it experienced a real boom ahead of this year’s International Caravan and Motorhome Show at the NEC in October, when new models were launched.

Group sales and marketing director Andy Craggs said: “We have had a phenomenal year-on-year increase and it shows how popular motorhomes are proving to be.”

Group HR manager Carol Huggins said: “It’s all great for Newark. We employ almost 125 staff and it puts Newark on the map as Brownhills attracts fantastic staff and our team gets better every year.”

In addition to a huge indoor showroom displaying the latest models, Brownhills site also includes an accessory shop and a bistro.

Newark’s brilliant mix of niche stores, bustling market stalls and national retailers offer a great deal for shopaholics.

And if you are looking to treat yourself or a friend to something different or special, you are likely to find it by popping into one of the independent outlets.

On the fashion front, there is something to suit all ages, from High Street favourites to Jane Young – a womenswear business which has 6,000 people on its mailing list and which attracts shoppers from London, Yorkshire and Sheffield as well as locals, who can choose from more than seventy designer labels.

Stodman Street is the place to find another long-standing business, which has the pulling power to bring in shoppers from miles away, thanks to having built-up a name for itself over about thirty years.

Andrew Michaels is owned by Andrew Jones and is the place to find high end watches, such as Breitling, along with a wide range of jewellery.

Customers include the military and security services, the Red Arrows, SAS and all branches of the police.

If you love books, jazz, a coffee and a natter, you can get it all at Stray’s which is on the corner of Boar Lane and Middle Gate.

Managing director Jane Oldfield, daughter and fellow director Liz Mack and her brother Mat Short are the brains behind this multi-faceted enterprise, which started off as a coffee bar in 2003.

A bookstore, formerly based in The Buttermarket, was added in 2005, followed by a sandwich bar in 2008.

Laurens Patisserie exists as part of the food group Bakkavör since being bought for £130m in May 2006. The team of food manufacturing professionals claims to be the largest chilled cream cake manufacturer in Europe, employing over 1,600 people with Business Director, Paul Liveras at the helm of the company. The patisserie manufactures a wide range of products including pastries, such as eclairs and profiteroles as well as doughnuts, slices, tarts, trifles and potted deserts. Supplying leading supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Marks & Spencer amongst others Laurens seek to create innovative ideas to make statements demonstrating their commitment to excellence.

From the eighteen century to the mid twentieth century Newark was at the centre of the English brewing and malting industries. With excellent water quality, unrivalled transport links and easy access to barley-growing facilities the town had many advantages over other opponents and became known as ‘The Metropolis of Malt’. Several varieties of beer and malt were produced in vast quantities for local consumption and exported worldwide. The Newark Malting and Brewing Trail takes you around the centre, incorporating many of the sites and buildings that relate to the Malting and Brewing industries.

With the rise of genealogy in recent years, many of us are eagerly tracing our family histories back through time. It’s fascinating to try and imagine what life was like for our ancestors but one local firm, Tallents Solicitors, knows exactly what was happening 235 years ago.

Says Frances Kelly, Senior Partner at Tallents in Newark, “We know that Philip Tallents was admitted to the bar as a solicitor in 1774 and that both of his sons, Samuel and William Edward, also trained as solicitors and joined the firm after their father’s death in 1789.”

Her speciality within the firm is private client work, dealing with and advising clients on their personal and property affairs, particularly with regard to the preparation of wills and inheritance tax planning. Frances also deals with any conveyancing that they may require.

Frances says, “It’s incredible to think that for the last 235 years Tallents has been providing the people of Nottinghamshire with sound legal advice. Some of our clients have been coming to us for generations.”

Working with Frances at Newark are two more partners, Phillip Harding and Jeremy Blatherwick.

Phillip’s practice involves all forms of civil litigation as well as employment matters and commercial transactions. He has more than thirty years of post-qualification practice experience in agricultural litigation, land disputes, landlord and tenant issues, commercial disputes, company and partnership issues, unfair dismissal and redundancy claims, wills, succession and inheritance disputes, as well as ancillary relief claims in divorce cases involving substantial assets.

Jeremy has followed a strong family tradition of working for Tallents and still acts for clients whose families were represented by both his father and grandfather. Jeremy practices in all aspects of commercial property, acting for both landlords and tenants. He also acts in the sale and acquisition of commercial or farm land and in the sale and purchase of commercial businesses such as shops, restaurants or farms.

Alistair Millar is the firm’s property partner and operates from the office at Westgate in Southwell, which was built as solicitors’ offices in the late 1700s. Alistair specialises in residential and commercial property as well as agricultural matters and planning law. He has been qualified for almost fifteen years and has a wealth of experience. Outside of the office he is the chairman of Newark Business Club’s Action Group and the Steward to the Laxton Court Leet.

Alistair said, “235 years makes Tallents one of the oldest firms in the country and it is great to be a part of something that has served so many people over so many years.”

Tallents entered its 235th year with six partners, a Notary Public and fifty-three staff and is optimistic about strengthening its continuing role within the Nottinghamshire business community. Frances finishes,

“Since our founding by Phillip Tallents in 1774, we have always been committed to servicing the legal needs of private individuals, company and commercial clients and farmers across North Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire.

“I’m sure Philip Tallents would be very proud of the firm and its achievements today.”

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