Towns Fund £25m announcement by Rishi Sunak a 'once in a once in a generation opportunity' for Newark
Transformative plans for Newark given the go ahead by the government in today’s budget announcement have been described as a once in a generation opportunity.
Members of the Newark Towns Fund Board have expressed their delight on hearing Rishi Sunak's announcement Newark is to get the full £25m possible from the Government’s Towns Fund initiative.
The funding will support nine catalyst projects for the regeneration of the town, with further projects and aspirations spanning the next 30 years. The ambitious and aspirational plans will transform Newark, building on what we already have and making it a vibrant place for people to live, work and visit.
Projects will support the creation of new educational provisions and pathways, attracting new and better skilled jobs and industries, securing new green and cycling infrastructure and providing greater footfall and vibrancy for Newark town centre through new homes, events, uses and enhanced public spaces.
The application for government funding involved the submission of Newark’s ‘Town Investment Plan’ (TIP), which was developed by a dedicated Newark Towns Fund Board, which comprises more than 40 private and public businesses and bodies. This includes businesses, educators, the community and voluntary sectors and town, district and parish councils.
Tom Cartledge, co-chairman of the Newark Towns Fund Board and chief executive of architects and masterplanners Benoy, said: “Today is an important step in the journey to transform the lives of the current and future generations of Newark residents by creating an ambition which seeks to establish vocational job opportunities for the future of our town.
“I have witnessed the decline of the town in recent decades and this once in a generation opportunity allows us to address our social mobility challenges head on.
"Our level of ambition is rightly limitless but importantly deliverable. I am glad the Government agrees. My passion, and that of the Board and our partners, remains strong. Newark will be a place that showcases the talent, character, diversity and achievements of all its residents and businesses. I look forward to the delivery of the projects over the coming weeks, months, and years."
The submission followed a period of public consultation and sets out ambitious plans for regenerating the town centre, boosting business and improving infrastructure.
The priority projects include;
- IASTI (Newark)® - an International Air Space and Training Institute which will create new jobs locally and train the next generation of skills-matched aviation professionals with military and civil partners including pilots, engineers and ground staff.
- Expanding the YMCA Newark and Sherwood Community and Activity Village by constructing a new state of the art home to sports and leisure facilities, music and art spaces, conferencing, a wellbeing and health delivery service suite, culinary training, the largest outdoor skate park in the East Midlands and an Olympic climbing centre.
- Working with University partners to develop a Smart Innovation, Supply Chain and Logistics Enterprise zone to create a centre of excellence with regional and national significance and to provide access to skills development and career pathways.
- The Castle Gate House project to enhance the experience of Newark’s foremost historical asset and transform the Castle into a major attraction for residents and visitors alike.
- The redevelopment of 32 Stodman Street (the former Marks and Spencer’s) to create high quality Town Centre residential living and new commercial and office space, creating activity and footfall
- Newark Cultural Heart – plans to drive and measure additional footfall and local spend through the repurposing of public buildings and spaces, an ongoing calendar of events and activities, and developing a brand and tone of voice for the town.
- The relocation of the current police station on Queen’s Road to Castle House, enabling us to keep and work more closely with Police colleagues and allowing the redevelopment of the current site
- Aspirations to work with a range of partners 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.
David Lloyd, co-chairman of the board and leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “I am delighted the government has acknowledged the scale, ambition, span and transformative nature of the proposals, which have been developed through the Towns Board with input from a whole range of businesses, education, community, and government partners following public consultation.
“The plans directly address Newark’s visible and unseen challenges and will create opportunities not only for current and future generations of Newark residents and businesses, but beyond the town’s boundaries given the impact of the projects and partners involved.
“The proposals put forward to the government have been prepared by our local businesses, providing local solutions that not only address Newark’s challenges and resident’s needs but go well beyond them.
“Newark will become a destination of choice where people want to live, work and visit. Work had already begun in anticipation of this announcement and will now continue at pace.”
Chief Constable Craig Guildford from Nottinghamshire Police said: “It is great news for the town, and great coming off the back of the very successful Safer Streets campaign currently running in the town, which was praised by the Policing Minister in his virtual visit with us earlier this year.
“We have been fully consulted by Newark and Sherwood District Council on their plans, and we look forward to working together with them to help them facilitate their ambitions for the town.”
In addition, some projects have already benefitted from a £750,000 Accelerated Towns Fund grant, including the Newark College expansion. Work is well underway to provide new and expanded stone masonry, joinery, gas testing and plumbing courses.
This funding has also helped develop the proposals for 32 Stodman Street in Newark town centre where, following public consultation last year, transformational final plans are set to be unveiled shortly.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “People shouldn’t have to leave their local area to get on in life or further their career. Levelling up means spreading opportunity and investment throughout the UK—ensuring everyone has a fair chance no matter where they live.
"My budget this year includes substantial investment across the East Midlands in the communities that need it most.”
Further information about each project is available at https://www.newark-sherwooddc.gov.uk/business/newarktownsfund/.