Stodman Street project earmarked to benefit from Government funding

7 August 2020

An ambitious vision to transform the vacant Marks and Spencer (M&S) building in Newark has been unveiled, as part of Newark’s ‘Town Investment Plan’.

Recognising how traditional high streets are changing, the redevelopment of the site on Stodman Street would retain the frontage and provide four new retail premises at ground-floor level and residential premises at the rear and within upper floors. 

With its central location and local significance, Newark and Sherwood District Council purchased the building in December 2019, entering the market as a landlord to help shape the modelling of retail rates, and its plans aim to bring the building back into use as quickly as possible. 

While there has been an active push to bring large retailers into the town centre, taking into account the views of residents in pursuing this, factors including the impact of the recent pandemic, and a reduced interest in town centre high streets compared to city centres, has meant this has not been possible.

As a result, the redevelopment would provide the opportunity to secure new retail tenants in units of a size and shape that would generate more future income than the existing structure allows, as well as creating more local employment opportunities. 

While the majority of retail promises in the town centre are privately owned, the District Council has already demonstrated its commitment and ability to be an active player in the retail market with its recent redevelopment of Newark Buttermarket. 

The major scheme forms part of Newark Towns Fund Board’s application for the Towns Fund, a Government pledge to invest up to £25m into the town centre, which was submitted last week.

The feedback from the Board’s public consultation on the future of Newark identified the need for additional, high-quality homes - particularly of the family and rented sector. The development would fill a gap in town centre residential demand, by providing approximately 30 high-quality flats. 

An increase in the residential population would also lead to an increase in town centre footfall and usage of facilities and services. 

Councillor David Lloyd, Co-Chair of the Towns Fund Board and Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “Since the departure of Marks and Spencer, footfall in the town centre has noticeably declined. However, we have ambitious plans to address and reverse this.

“The plans for Stodman Street mark a major step forward in our plans for regenerating and reinvigorating Newark into a vibrant town centre. The former M&S building is an underused public asset and located in a strategically significant part of the town. Bringing the space back into use would benefit local residents, visitors and businesses, acting as a catalyst for further regeneration.” 

Subject to approval and planning processes, demolition of the existing unit would commence in 2021, with completion expected in early 2023.

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