District Council plans progress for land adjacent to Newark LibraryPosted on: Thursday, September 29, 2022
Following a recent public consultation, the District Council has today announced its final plans for the land adjacent to Newark Library, London Road in Newark.
This site has been the centre of much attention over the last year but now it is back in District Council ownership, plans to make this into a community space in the heart of Newark have been confirmed.
The District Council is keen to ensure that the site is enjoyed by a range of different people from schools and families to community and local disability groups. As such, the District Council met with four local groups to gather their views on the proposed plans as part of the public consultation. The four local groups consisted of:
1 - MHA Group Newark, a group for older people living alone in their own home,
2 - My Sight Group Newark, a group that offers blind and particularly sighted people the opportunity to get together and undertake some community gardening,
3 - Newark Friendship Group who offer a friendly and welcoming space for people who are lonely and suffering with mental health issues, disabilities, or other conditions; and
4 - The Friends of the Library Gardens.
In addition to feedback from these four groups, the survey was open, and promoted to, residents for almost a month with 113 responses received. 38% of respondents were generally positive about the plans. 24% of respondents had specific feedback on the original proposed design and these responses, where possible, have been incorporated into the confirmed plans for the site.
While 30% of comments were not in favour of the plans, respondents did put forward alternative suggestions. These were explored by the District Council but were not possible for several different reasons. Of the ideas suggested, some respondents indicated a preference for a car park, which had already been explored and therefore was not an option for this site. Some respondents indicated a preference for a play park but in planning terms, there are dedicated play parks in the town centre with walking distance of this site so there is not a strong case for local ‘need.’
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, explains: “Let me be candid, whatever we do on this site will not please everyone but officers, along with an independent landscape consultant, have been working incredibly hard to create plans for the site that suit the needs of the entire community.
“We have continued to meet with local community groups, including the Friends of the Library Garden, regularly and it is hoped that the carefully planned features of the approved plans will make it a community hub, rich in biodiversity, offering increased opportunities for education right in the heart of the town centre, in a bid to deliver on our commitment to being Cleaner, Safer and Greener.
“I am also honoured to announce that, subject to approval from the Palace, we hope to name the new space after Queen Elizabeth II. We believe this is a fitting tribute to such a wonderful and inspiring monarch. Over the last two weeks, we have witnessed something terribly sad and, as a nation, we came together to mourn and honour Her Majesty’s devotion and lifetime service. Our hope is that the garden could become a place for people to reflect on her dedication and commitment to her County.”
The final plans for the site include:
- A hard standing area to the back of the space which would be accessible for a range of local disability gardening groups. It would feature raised beds, the height of which will be carefully considered to ensure they can be accessed by wheelchair users.
- A winding path will lead visitors through the garden. Following feedback received during the consultation period, the path will now be smooth and not gravel or bark as originally suggested. The path will lead to a container-like-pavilion, complete with a green roof and clad with wood and a wildlife wall. It will have a decking area outside for the District Council’s environmental team to run talks, workshops and activities with the local community groups and school children.
- Clear park signage, a suggestion taken from the consultation.
- A gentle pebbled rain garden water feature to attract insects and wildlife, built with safety in mind, will run through the garden with sleeper type bridges allowing access to the entire space. Water butts will also be added to the garden to allow for the harvesting of rainwater.
- Planting around the space will include wildflowers, a bulb meadow and a further purple haze bed which will include bluebells, tulips and lavender.
- Fruit bearing species will be incorporated into the hedges on the site, again another addition following the consultation.
- New trees, one Rowan and two Birch trees, will be planted in addition to those currently on the site.
- Appropriate seating. Following the consultation, the Acacia tree seats will be kept but the proposed ring seat will not be included.