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Words: Glynis Fox
Photography: Mick Fox, Painting by David Work
Featured in the June 2011 issue

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Newark faces both a challenging and exciting future after Government inspectors gave the green light to a ‘blueprint’ for the area’s development over the next fifteen years.

This vision for the future (formerly known as Newark & Sherwood District Council’s Core Strategy) paves the way for thousands of new homes, lively new communities, enhanced transport links and commercial developments.

And there is little doubt that, together, these will make a real difference to Newark - a market town which is popular with shoppers and tourists and also, an excellent base for those wishing to commute to jobs further afield.

The blueprint spells out the location and amount of new development which will be allowed over the coming years, taking into account housing and employment needs and important issues such as sustainability and climate change.

Newark & Sherwood has also been given Growth Point Status by the Government, thanks to its excellent communication links, potential for regeneration and the need for plenty of affordable housing and this is paving the way for thousands of new properties.

New housing is being centred on land south of Newark, at Hawtonville – where the Catesby Property Group has put in an outline planning application for 3,150 new homes and 145,000 sq metre of employment space. The proposals also feature two local centres, two primary schools, a health centre and a country park.

And they 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.
Land east of Newark, to the south of existing properties off Beacon Hill Road – and just ten minutes walk from Newark town centre – has also been earmarked for about 1,600 new homes, along with a new school, shopping and recreation facilities.

At land around Fernwood, 1,150 new homes are already underway on the former Balderton Hospital site. The first phase will consolidate the existing development, but later phases will extend it to the south with the addition of 2,200 more properties.

As areas grow, people will need more essential, health, education and social facilities and the infrastructure to serve them. This cost will be met through the Community Infrastructure Levy – a charge paid by a developer, which will vary according to each individual project.

Newark Business Club takes a close interest in developments planned for the town and its suburbs.

Action Committee chairman Tim Shaw – who is also a partner at commercial agent Hodgson Elkington – is among those who has praised Newark & Sherwood’s vision for the future.

“I think the council has been brave, in difficult times, in the way in which it has been planning for the area’s future growth.

“The authority is going ahead with its community infrastructure plans and councillors have set the level for the levies developers will have to pay – in order to fund improvements such as the relief road and service roads around new developments.

“This is an encouraging move. It means that any company wishing to build in a specific area can really plan ahead when it comes to budgeting for each specific project,” said Mr Shaw.

Newark is a fascinating location, with a wealth of long-standing independent traders, and bustling market days, which have helped it to maintain its unique ambience.

With medieval, timbered-buildings and quirky passages – where you will find niche enterprises – and a liberal mix of contemporary units, which attract national retailers, it is, however, not in a time-warp.

“For instance, Asda is busy putting up a multi-million pound superstore on what is known as the Beaumond Cross site. It will also be complemented by other facilities, such as a doctor’s centre and business units,” said Mr Shaw.

Commercial agent Banks Long & Co in Lincoln said the scheme will provide about 100,00 sq ft of new shopping space, 60,000 sq ft of which is being occupied by Asda and the remaining space available in units of 1,000 sq ft up to 9,000 sq feet.

Partner James Butcher said: “The Asda store is being developed by them and our client M F Strawson is developing the remaining shopping space. Simons is the building contractor and we are the letting agent.

“We are already in discussions with a number of retailers and the early interest in this site has been very encouraging,” he added.

Hodgson Elkington’s Tim Shaw continued: “It is good to see a major retail scheme of this nature taking shape. It is positive for the town and it could attract the attention of more national players.”

There is also great news about The Arcade, off the town’s Market Place where the individual shop units managed by Hodgson Elkington have all been let. Newer arrivals include a hairdressing salon and a teashop.

Mr Shaw added that the gradual expansion of Newark and the fact that people are now living longer, is also encouraging developers to look at potential opportunities to build up-to-the-minute care facilities on greenfield sites in the Newark area.

Town Clerk Alan Mellor referred to the ‘blueprint’ for growth within the Newark & Sherwood District.

“The strategy and the increase in housing which forms part of it, is going to impact on the town and increase the need for services and jobs,” said Mr Mellor.

“The challenge for Newark lies in being able to embrace the increase in population whilst retaining its underlying character and architecture.”

Mr Mellor said that Newark is now seen as a sub-regional centre and acts a focal point for the surrounding area.

“The town itself seems to be holding onto its mix of national and independent businesses, unlike some shopping centres, which seem to have been taken over by many charity outlets,” he added.

Mr Mellor added that, while it is good that Newark has the power to attract a supermarket name like Asda to the Potterdyke site – which is breathing new life into that part of the town, this naturally creates a further challenge for local shopkeepers.

GOING SHOPPING
From fashion to jewellery, books, wine and shoes – you’ll find something with a twist of individuality in Newark.

Many national retailers have a presence in the town, but if you are curious enough to go exploring, you will find other, exciting niche attractions, including those tucked in many of Newark’s quaint ‘alleys.’

On the fashion front, names like Bon Marche and Monsoon are complemented by names such as Jane Young – a womenswear business with more than 6,000 names on its mailing list – and also Shirt Sleeves.

Stodman Street is a great place to eat. With choices including Italian, Indian and English dining, and venues such as Rushton’s Bistro and the revamped Prince Edward pub, there’s no excuse to go hungry!

In search of a high-class individual gift, then Andrew Michaels is the place to drool over top-name watches, such as Breitling, along with a wide range of jewellery.

If you fancy somewhere lively to have a coffee and a chat, where you can also enjoy a spot of jazz and buy books, why not check out Stray’s on the corner of Boar Lane and Middle Gate.

Ann et Vin in Castlegate is also another ‘find’ for those not already in the know.

You can try and buy wines, take a break in The Courtyard wine bar and also enjoy Jazz sessions, tastings and Masterclasses – check the store’s diary for the latest info.

Another part of town worth visiting is The Buttermarket – an under-cover option where you will find more fashions, along with shoes, artwork, giftwear and more.

IN THE MARKET
Newark’s Livestock Market’s position on the Great North Road means that it attracts the attention of farmers and breeds from miles away – including Norfolk, Herefordshire, Staffordshire and Yorkshire.

With a ‘payout on the sound of the hammer’ policy, rapid loading and unloading docks, welcoming staff and an on-site cafe, the aim is to offer customers an assurance that their business is in good hands.

And modern-day communications mean that even farmers who are unable to stay at the market to see their livestock sold, can check out a live Internet broadcast giving descriptions of each lot and the prices they made.

The market also uses Twitter and a mobile texting service that updates people at home, letting them know the sales and buying highlights on Wednesdays.

Spokesman Paul Richardson claimed: “For the last three years, we have sold 90,000 prime beef cattle during that period, and we stand as the UK’s largest prime beef auction. Adding to that its breeding cattle, calves, sheep and pigs, this is firmly established as the Midlands premier auction.”

During the popular breeding months of April and October, the market is a venue for sales for Pedigree Limousin and Pedigree Simmental cattle and the market is also the official auctioneer for The Pedigree Lincoln Red Cattle Society.

The market currently hosts weekly Wednesday sales, with prime cattle sold by auctioneer Paul Gentry who, Mr Richardson said, many would claim to be the best auctioneer in the UK. Breeding cattle, calves, sheep and pigs are generally sold by young auctioneer Keith Miller.

For the winter months, Newark Livestock Market is also appointed auctioneer for The Royal Smithfield Club and The East of England Winter Stock Festival.

Newark is also the venue for the Newark & Notts Christmas Primestock Show.

With more than £8,000 worth of prizes, it is a showcase of the best prime cattle, sheep and pigs in the UK, and features competitions for the local area’s finest cheese, pork pies and sausages.

Two of the market’s directors, Rachel Gascoine and Paul Gentry were heavily involved with the organisation of the National Beef Association’s event ‘Beef Expo 2011’ which took place at Newark Livestock Market and Newark Showground on 26th May.

VOLUNTEER DRIVE
Newark and Sherwood has a new social car service – Door2Door – which aims to help people over sixty who have difficulty accessing other forms of transport.

A team of volunteer drivers who use their own cars offer transport to social and community clubs, support groups, leisure activities, visiting friends and family or taking people shopping.

A charge of 42p per mile is made for the service. This is payable to the driver and users have to register annually at a cost of £12.

Door2Door has a number of drivers throughout Newark & Sherwood District, who are paid a set rate per mile. Prospective drivers are interviewed and must provide references and sign a declaration that they are fit to drive. They must also agree to be checked by the Criminal Records Bureau.

For more information, please contact Lucy Fountain on 01636 611220 or Email: door2door@nandscvs.org

NEWARK BUSINESS CLUB
Newark Business Club has recently toasted its tenth anniversary and its 1,200-strong membership.

Chairman James Fountain, said the past year has been exciting and challenging, but that real progress has been made, thanks to the club’s strong membership and committees.

Action Group members have been busy working on Brand Newark – pulling together all the communications strands and setting out very clear reasons why businesses should move to Newark, he said.

“We have identified clear tactics and strategies to enable us to seek funding through the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and other possible avenues, so that we can progress some of the projects which we have identified.

Transportation and railways are a key interest for the Business Club, and Mr Fountain praised Action Group adviser Bob Poynter for his work in helping to ensure the local business community has the service it needs to and from King’s Cross and for his reports in connection with the East Coast MainLine 2016 Capacity Study.

Mr Fountain said other highlights for the Club over the past year have included a guest visit by East Coast chairman Elaine Holt; providing sponsorship for the Newark Business Awards, and involvement in a Christmas competition, which offered one lucky shopper the chance to win £1,000 to be spent locally.

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