Pedalling plans to make Newark a cycling town as part of Towns Fund bid to government
Major proposals to transform Newark into a '20-minute town', giving people the ability to meet most of their everyday needs within a 20-minute walk, cycle or local public transport trip from their home, have been submitted as part of the Newark Town Investment Plan.
Brand new cycling and local transport options, to better connect residents and services, form part of Newark Towns Fund Board’s application for the Towns Fund, a government pledge to invest up to £25m into the town.
Newark’s layout makes it already highly accessible by non-vehicular modes of transport and the plans involve upgrading the existing solutions and installing new cycle and walking paths, as well as working with a major national partner to offer a bike share and hire scheme.
The board’s ambition is to boost the town’s appeal as a vibrant, dynamic and attractive place to live, work, study and visit, while boosting health and wellbeing, reducing congestion and improving local air quality.
A bike hire scheme, in which people would be able to hire fold-up bikes for a day, week, month or year, at a cost equivalent to public transport, would be delivered through a partnership with Brompton Bike Hire (BBH).
Bikes can be hired for £3.50 per day and taken to work, home and even on trains and buses. The vision is to provide a ‘first or last mile’ solution, while promoting cycling as both an affordable recreational activity and a green method of transport.
Lockers and docking points would initially be placed in four locations around Newark — at the hospital, Northgate train station, Castle House and in the town centre — for the safe collection, deposit or storage of the cycles. These locations make it ideal for those people commuting to and from Newark.
Partnerships with major employers in the area would be established in order to offer staff memberships while also potentially supplementing this with their own docks.
In addition, an extensive review will be undertaken to identify how the town centre can be better connected, incorporating reviews of transport hubs and carparking provision as well as how the town centre experience can be improved.
Tom Cartledge, co-chairman of Newark Towns Fund Board and chief executive of Benoy Ltd, said: “Lockdown has shown a real appetite for walking and cycling and we are keen to build on this momentum.
"There is a wealth of evidence indicating that walking and cycling has a very positive impact on the high street, as well as promoting health, cleaning the air and helping to combat the climate emergency.”
David Lloyd, co-chairman of the board and leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The plan is to create a neighbourhood in which residents can all get the goods and services we need within a twenty minute walking or cycling trip of their house, offering a genuine alternative to cars and public transport.
“The district council already has well established plans to address congestion, reduce carbon impacts and encourage walking and cycling, and this scheme fully encompasses our aspirations for the town’s future.”
The Advertiser has been serialising the key projects contained in the bid exclusively and has reported on proposals for the country’s first International Air and Space Institute (IASTI) that will transform the way pilots, future astronauts, engineers and ground staff are trained.
There are aspirations for a supply and logistics network of regional, national and international significance — the Smart Innovation, Supply Chain and Logistics Enterprise Zone (SiSCLog).
The former Marks and Spencer store on Stodman Street would be largely demolished, save for the frontage and new retail units and apartments added to the rear.
Newark’s identity could be re-invigorated into a vibrant location to increase tourism, attract investment and boost local pride. It is part of Newark’s Cultural Heart that aims to promote the town’s unique characteristics and increase town centre footfall.
The next phase of the YMCA's state-of-the-art community and activity village, off Lord Hawke Way, offering a range of educational, arts, sporting, healthcare and employment opportunities, would also benefit.
Newark Police Station would relocate from Queens Road to Newark and Sherwood District Council's home of Castle House.
Newark College would become a construction industry hub.
The gatehouse at Newark Castle would be transformed into even more of a tourist attraction.
Thirty projects have been outlined in total — some marked as priority — which will span the next 30 years.
Proposals address issues faced by many UK towns, including retail decline, decreasing footfall in the town centre, skill shortages, low wages, and a lack of new residential and family entertainment.