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Siege-piece plan to attract trade


Ancient siege coins minted at Newark Castle during the English Civil War are at the heart of a campaign to encourage people to shop in the town.

The diamond-shaped coins were made from plate owned by the town’s corporation, the church and wealthy citizens.

They were produced during the sieges of Newark in 1645 and 1646 to overcome a shortage of coins and ensure that the foot soldiers could be paid at a time when the Royalist town was struggling to keep the Parliamentarians at bay.

Now business and retail leaders and officers from Newark and Sherwood district and Newark town councils have come up with the idea of using the siege coin as the symbol for a scheme to encourage people to shop locally.

The first stage of the campaign will look at the introduction of a discount parking scheme in Newark.

The idea is that motorists using carparks owned by the district councilwould get a picture of a siege coin as part of their parking ticket.

This could be detached, taken to participating businesses and exchanged for a discount on a purchase.

Businesses taking part would decide what that discount would be.

Some could choose to refund the parking fee as part of a purchase while others could offer a percentage off a total sale.

Window stickers would be supplied to those taking part so shoppers would know where the token could be used.

The chairman of Newark Business Club, Mr Dean Hyde, said he raised the idea with some businesses and received a positive reaction.

Those already interested include Ann et Vin, Boots and Holdens of Newark.

Mr Hyde said it was important to encourage people to shop in the town and he hoped the scheme could attract those put off by parking charges.

A website is also planned from where a siege token could be downloaded to be exchanged at named shops and businesses for a discount on purchases or services.

Other ideas include a specially brewed local beer with a siege token label and discounted siege token wine.

Retailers are to be asked for their views and whether they would be prepared to join a discount parking scheme.

They can register their interest at www.siegeofnewark.co.uk

Mr Hyde said he would like to hear from shoppers.

He will be a guest on Newark’s Boundary Sound radio on Wednesday teatime when he will be speaking about the project and inviting people to ring in and give their views on the idea.

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