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30-year investment plan drawn up by Newark Towns Fund Board to transform town

Ambitious plans for Newark have been submitted as it becomes one of the first to bid for up to £25m funding from the government as part of its Towns Fund initiative.

Newark’s Town Investment Plan has been developed by a dedicated Newark Towns Fund Board and sets out major plans for regenerating the town centre, boosting business and improving infrastructure.

Thirty projects have been outlined in total ­— some marked as priority ­— which will span the next 30 years.

Despite covid-19 restrictions, the Newark Towns Fund Board, which comprises more than 40 private and public businesses and bodies, has been working hard, consulting with residents and businesses to put forward transformative solutions that not only address Newark’s challenges and residents’ needs but go well beyond them.

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.

David Lloyd, co-chairman of the Towns Fund Board and leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Newark is rich in history and community. It has a good strong foundation that makes Newark a great place to live. It has good transport connections, great businesses and fantastic independent retailers.

David Lloyd, co-chairman of the Towns Fund Board and leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council
David Lloyd, co-chairman of the Towns Fund Board and leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council

“However, it has a number of visible and unseen challenges ­— vacant shop premises, anti-social behaviour issues, lack of further education provision, low wages and skills shortages.

“Our submission to government sets out transformative plans for Newark’s future.

“Working in partnership with public, private, government educators and industry professionals, we want to drive change in Newark’s future, to make it a destination of choice where people want to live, work and visit.”

The priority projects identified for Newark, which will be serialised in the Advertiser, include:

  • An International Air Space and Training Institute to create new jobs locally and nationally in aviation.
  • A construction college to create educational pathways into innovative construction while upskilling local people.
  • A Smart Innovation, Supply Chain and Logistics Enterprise zone to create a centre of excellence with regional and national significance.
  • YMCA Newark and Sherwood Community and Activity Village ­— an inclusive establishment capable of providing the population of Newark with access to learning, leisure sports, skills, early careers and general wellbeing activities, part of which is already complete.
  • Transforming Newark into a town that embraces cycling, walking, public transport and enhancing green routes.
  • The castle gatehouse project ­— enhancing the experience of Newark’s foremost historical asset.
  • Newark Heart ­— a three-step approach to reviewing and developing the entire town offer by establishing its voice and a calendar of events.
  • Repurposing the town centre retail estate to increase residential premises and reduce rents and rates to retail units.
  • Re-appraising the public estate to better apply resource to personnel rather than premises.

Mr Lloyd said: “Our Town Investment Plan sets out our innovative and aspirational projects for the next 30 years and beyond.

“We are now in a two-month period during which the government selects preferred projects and negotiates terms for those that have been successful.

“Work won’t stop in the meantime. This strategy for Newark has many parts to it.

“This is just the start of our journey in shaping the future of Newark.”

Further information is available at www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/business/newarktownsfund/

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