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Club’s say on shops


Businesses are being asked for their views on the type of shops that should be provided as part of the planned expansion of Newark.

About 7,000 jobs are expected over the next 20 years as part of the growth point, which would mean up to 5,000 new homes built south of Newark.

At a meeting of Newark Business Club on Friday, Mr Gabriel Abulafia, the director of Green Point, the consultancy involved with the growth point bid, said they needed a good understanding of what the Newark business community wanted.

He asked if businesses in the town had access to the trained staff they needed, what skills were lacking and if staff had to be brought into the town from other areas.

Mr Abulafia said feedback from workshops held as part of the public consultation showed an overwhelming majority of people supported the creation of local jobs.

He said many wanted more high-skilled, high-tech, light industrial jobs. He said there was a strong view that local people should benefit from the new opportunities.

He hoped a planning application would be submitted in late July or August. He said it would probably be a year before a decision was made by the district council.

Mr Abulafia said if everything went well it could be a further two years before any work started and the development would continue for ten-20 years.

Mr Dan Hatcher, of planners Barton Willmore, said the growth point would bring benefits to the local economy, which had the opportunity to reduce town centre congestion.

He said it would include new sports, community, and health facilities, open space and country park, improvements to public transport, cycle routes and footpaths. There would also be playgrounds and playing fields, local shops and creches.

He said there were plans for two new primary schools and major contributions towards improving secondary schools in the area.

Mr Hatcher said it would provide new opportunities for Newark residents to work in the town.

He said there were important environmental issues to take into consideration such as drainage solutions. He said there was the opportunity to reduce the threat of flooding to some parts of the town as part of the development. He said ecological habitats could be created and an area for water sports could be created.

The MP for Newark, Mr Patrick Mercer, said he had heard a lot of opposition to the growth point.

He said: “It is going to happen. We are going to get an extensive building programme in this area.”

Mr Mercer said: “Let’s not bury our heads in the sand. Let us go forward sensibly and intelligently.”

He said: “Be articulate and outspoken and say what you want to happen. It is your town.”

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