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Photography: Mick Fox
Featured in the April 2020 issue

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Newark and its surrounding area has been an important economic centre for hundreds of years, recognised nationally as a hotspot for growth and today is no different. By Melanie Burton

Home to more than 8,000 businesses, the district of Newark & Sherwood has a growing reputation as a centre for logistics, data management and environmental industries and other key sectors such as engineering, ICT, food and drink and tourism.

Of the 70,200 full-time and part-time jobs in the district, service industries make up nearly half the total (32,400), with distribution, hotels and restaurants employing 11,200 people, manufacturing 6,600 and finance and the IT sector making up a 4,800 further jobs. Employment levels at 76.6 per cent are 3.3 per cent higher than the national average.

Newark and Sherwood District Council has designated 80 acres of land for commercial building development and sites have been identified in Newark alone to provide 7,000 new homes and 250,000 sqm of new employment floor space.

The growth in the area’s prosperity is fuelling growth in the district as a whole, with 14,000 new homes in the pipeline in the next two decades.

With its close proximity to the A1 and the A46, Newark has excellent transport links making it an ideal location for business with good routes to the East Coast ports including Grimsby, Immingham and Hull.

Couple that with rail connections that mean you can reach London in just 90 minutes and Nottingham and Lincoln in just half an hour, and there is no wonder the town is a popular place in which to base a business.

Much is done behind the scenes to encourage investment, increase footfall to boost the local economy and make the town an attractive place to live, work, visit and enjoy.

A campaign is ongoing to help make the area cleaner, safer and greener with £200,000 of funding available to fund projects which will improve the cleanliness and appearance of the local environment.

Through the campaign the council has led multi-agency Days of Action across the district, delivered a free tree planting scheme for residents and recruited four new Community Protection Officers to work with Police colleagues to further address anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.

Crime and anti-social behaviour is down across Newark and Sherwood, and Newark was recently given a special award in retaining its Gold Status in last year’s East Midlands in Bloom competition of the ‘least-littered’ environment in the East Midlands.

Newark Lorry Park has been named the safest in the East Midlands and is one of just three truck stops in the UK to receive the accreditation.

A recent assessment by the British Parking Association commended the lorry park, on Great North Road, for its management and maintenance, effective surveillance and high level of lighting, signage and cleanliness.

Newark and Sherwood District Council works alongside partners including the police to ensure that towns and communities are safe places to be and the Safer Parking Scheme is aimed at reducing crime and fear of crime in parking areas.

The Park Mark award complements a full house of the same accreditation for all district council-owned pay and display car parks in Newark, all of which have also received Disabled Parking Accreditation, aimed at improving parking for disabled people and reducing the abuse of disabled spaces.

Keith Girling, deputy leader for Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Both the lorry park and all district council car parks are clearly marked with the Park Mark tick on signage so that drivers know where to go for safe parking.

“The Park Mark award is a testament to the work we are doing to make Newark and Sherwood a safer place to live, work and visit.”

The district council recently completed extension and improvement works at the lorry park, to ensure HGV drivers were provided with a safe and secure site in a centrally accessible location for day and overnight parking, while reducing the number of HGVs parking in laybys and on local pavements and verges in residential areas. This form of parking can be dangerous to other road users, is a nuisance to residents and encourages freight crime.

The improvement project saw the introduction of a new one-way system, improved lighting, additional pedestrian crossings, speed bumps and a fuel refilling facility, as well as creating space for up to 167 vehicles.

The park is fully secured with fencing, Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) controlled barriers and 24/7 CCTV meaning drivers and their vehicles will stay safe at all hours of the day.

A range of facilities at the park are also available including toilets, showers and a lorry wash. Work is also being undertaken to refurbish the on-site café, extend the food offer, install Wi-Fi and extend the opening hours to meet the high-quality of the extended site.

The park also provides secure, off-street parking for day-visiting coaches to encourage more footfall into Newark attractions, boosting the local economy. Fuel cards are accepted at the site.

Last year Newark was chosen to receive up to £25 million from the government awarded Towns Fund to‘re-imagine’ the town, maximise the positives of its independent shops, tourist offer and assets and its historic centre and architecture.

Detailed proposals have been drawn up with the local community, businesses and local leaders, to transform the town’s economic growth prospects with a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

The proposals aim to address the severe effects of retail decline, vacant shops, anti-social behaviour, service an appropriate night-time economy and provide new residential and family offers to the town.

Keith Girling said: “We will be working on a regeneration programme which will match our vision and ambition to revamp and breathe new life into Newark town centre.

“We are looking forward to shaping our proposals with residents, businesses and shoppers in line with the central government’s new Towns Fund deal, to re-imagine the town’s future development.”

Newark was one of 100 places across the UK to have been invited to develop proposals for a new generation of multi-million-pound Town Deals.

Newark MP and Local Government Secretary, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick, said: “Ensuring that prosperity and opportunities are available to everyone in this country, not just those in London or our biggest cities, is at the heart of the mission of this government.

“We want to level-up our great towns, raising living standards and ensuring they can thrive with transformative investment in transport, technology, skills and culture.”

At the same time Newark was awarded Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) status having secured a £250,000 boost from Historic England for conservation projects in the town centre.

Funding is focused on helping to revive and revitalise the town, particularly in helping to promote traditional shop frontages, offering assistance and incentives to convert upper floors, assisting in improving the fortunes of ‘problem’ buildings, and dealing with the consequences of heritage crime.

The funding will be used for a variety of projects, including essential repair works to historic buildings and revealing hidden and forgotten features of buildings by restoring shopfronts and façades as well as stimulating commercial investment in high streets by demonstrating how historic sites can be successfully repurposed and offering funding towards projects.

Councillor David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “This help to preserve the town’s unique historical qualities, address buildings which are of concern, and further enhance Newark as a place to visit and in which to stay.”

BEST OF THE REGION AT NOTTINGHAMSHIRE COUNTY SHOW
Nottinghamshire County Show is set to showcase the best of the region on May bank holiday weekend.

As one of the first big outdoor events of the year, the Nottinghamshire County Show is a ‘must see’ date for your diary.  The two-day event (9th and 10th May) at the Newark Showground, organised by the Newark & Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, is the perfect day out to experience the very best of farming, food and family fun.

Discover traditional agricultural activities alongside show-stopping entertainment, including fantastic equine classes, spectacular show jumping and a wide variety of farm animals and rare breeds.

There are also more than 400 classes and competitions, from traditional livestock to vintage vehicles, farriery and floral art.

Don’t miss the action as the Notts Young Farmers take part in the annual lawnmower racing, as eight clubs compete in their fantastic purpose-built creations to be crowned winners.

HOTEL SITE TRANSFORMED
Another redevelopment project aimed at creating business opportunities in the town is underway and will see the derelict former Robin Hood Hotel building transformed into a brand new 66-bedroom hotel and additional retail units.

There are two phases to the development, the first of which concentrates on the conservation of the Grade II listed structures while the second will focus on the new-build at the rear of the Lombard Street site, creating a new Travelodge hotel which is expected to be completed later in the year.

The £6.6m development is being led by a joint venture company RHH Newark Ltd which was set up by Newark and Sherwood District Council in partnership with the current owner of the existing buildings, MF Strawson Ltd.

To complement the hotel there will also be three commercial units, possibly including a gym, café and restaurant, built on the site.

The project will generate up to 70 new jobs and further enhance Newark and Sherwood as a significant tourism destination in its own right, particularly in relation to Sherwood Forest, Newark Castle and the National Civil War Centre.

Councillor David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “We are very much looking forward to seeing the transformation of this part of Newark and the preservation work that will also take place on this site during this important development project.”

Lindum contracts manager Craig Houston said: “There is a clear passion among the people of the town who want to see this site restored and we look forward to bringing it back into use after so many years.”

NEW LOOK FOR YOUR KITCHEN AND BATHROOM
At Turnbull’s Newark Kitchens & Bathrooms showroom site you’ll find an extensive range of displays to inspire your home improvements.

The company’s hugely experienced designers offer helpful advice about layouts and solutions for your home.

As design specialists, Turnbull take on all sizes of projects; from kitchen extensions and bathroom refurbishments, to minor replacement work and complete new-builds.

The company, which prides itself on helping customers realise their dream kitchen and bathroom interiors, is renowned as a supplier of high-quality product ranges from selected leading manufacturers. It is the only supplier of high-end German kitchens from Rotpunkt in Lincolnshire.

Turnbull’s services include free home visits, a free kitchen and bathroom design service featuring contemporary and traditional styles, as well as five kitchen and eleven bathroom displays.

The showroom is well situated on Northern Road Industrial Estate, just off Beacon Hill Road and behind Newark Northgate train station. Located next door is their Building and Plumbing Supplies branch where there is plenty of dedicated parking with wheelchair-friendly access.

The Newark showroom team recently completed a bathroom for a customer in Balderton who wanted more of a traditional look, without losing the luxury of modern convenience.

Originally a bedroom, it was a big change to turn the upstairs room into a bathroom, but Turnbull designer Odette worked closely with the client’s plumber on the project.

The newly created bathroom features stylish products from Roper Rhodes, including toilet, sink and bathroom furniture, as well as taps and basin from Crosswater. The elegant shower chosen to complete the look was a Bristan 1902 dual control shower. Modern Luxury is brought into the space through the handy steam-free LED mirror. The customer said that thanks to Turnbull, the room is now their favourite in the house!

BUTTERMARKET DEVELOPMENTS
Popular national restaurant/bar chain Lounges will be taking up a key tenancy at Newark’s iconic Buttermarket shopping arcade following an agreement with Newark and Sherwood District Council.

Expected to open up to customers in the spring, the move heralds an exciting new era for the building which, despite having huge potential, had been left largely empty before coming into council ownership in partnership with Newark Town Council.

Work is currently being carried out to re-fit a third of the building into the new café with the remainder of the building being redeveloped for a new retail and commercial offering.

The restaurant will serve a whole variety of food and with a licensed bar will be open through to late evening, boosting the night-time economy.

The Buttermarket, which was bought by the two councils in December last year, has been the home to a number of temporary retailers while the council sought to bring the right occupier who would bring life back into the building.

Gemma Irwin, Lounges community manager, said: “We are very excited about coming to Newark as we’ve been looking for a suitable property for a few years. We’ve had many customer requests for us to open in Newark so we’re pleased we can soon open our doors to them.”

Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council Councillor David Lloyd said: “Lounges offers a quality, all-day offer which will attract families and additional visitors of all ages to the town centre, particularly in the evening. Their commitment to Newark will also help attract other businesses to the town as part of our regeneration work.”

BUSINESS SURGERIES
In line with the work going on in Newark to clear the town of its eyesore buildings and breathe new life into iconic landmarks, help and support is also available for businesses

Data from Companies House and the Office for National Statistics hasrevealed more than 620 businesses were formed in the Newark area last year. The district is ranked fifth out of Nottinghamshire’s seven districts and boroughs with start-ups.

One initiative to help businesses succeed are the business surgeries which offer the opportunity for entrepreneurs to find out more about the support available to help them grow their business.

In these free one-to-one sessions, would-be business owners can meet with a D2N2 Growth Hub Business Adviser to discuss ideas and establish what help is needed such as access to finance to expand, guidance on the latest legislation or practical business support.

It also offers an opportunity to ask questions, get practical tips, and depending on the business needs, arrange a follow-up business review.

Businesses may also get access to workshops and events, regular updates on the latest funding news and information of any regional or national programmes that will help with growth plans.

The sessions are most suited to businesses that have been trading for over a year, are looking to grow and expand and operate within the B2B sector (businesses selling/servicing to other businesses).

The next business surgery is due to take place at Newark & Sherwood District Council building, Castle House, Great North Road, Newark on 22nd April.

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