Plans underway for ‘20 minute town’
MAJOR proposals 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, have been submitted as part of the Newark Town Investment Plan.
Brand new cycling and local transport options, to better connect residents and services, form part of Newark Towns Fund Board’s application for the Towns Fund, a Government pledge to invest up to £25 million into the town.
Newark’s layout makes it already highly accessible by non-vehicular modes of transport and the plans involve upgrading the existing solutions and installing new cycle and walking paths, as well as working with a major national partner to offer a bike share and hire scheme.
The Board’s ambition is to boost the town’s appeal as a vibrant, dynamic and attractive place to live, work, study and visit, while boosting health and wellbeing, reducing congestion and improving local air quality.
A bike hire scheme, in which people would be able to hire fold-up bikes for a day, week, or month, at a cost equivalent to public transport, would be delivered through a partnership with Brompton Bike Hire (BBH).
Bikes can be hired from £3.50 per day (depending on which membership you are part of) and taken to work, home and even on trains and buses. The vision is to provide a ‘first or last mile’ solution, while promoting cycling as both an affordable recreational activity and a green method of transport.
Lockers and docking points would initially be placed in four locations around Newark – at the hospital, Northgate train station, Castle House and in the town centre - for the safe collection, deposit or storage of the cycles. These locations make it ideal for those people commuting to and from Newark.
Partnerships with major employers in the area would be established in order to offer staff memberships while also potentially supplementing this with their own docks.
In addition, an extensive review will be undertaken to identify how the town centre can be better connected, incorporating reviews of transport hubs and car parking provision as well as how the town centre experience can be improved.
Tom Cartledge, Co-chair of Newark Towns Fund Board and Chief Executive of Benoy Ltd, said: “Lockdown has shown a real appetite for walking and cycling and we are keen to build on this momentum. There is a wealth of evidence indicating that walking and cycling has a very positive impact on the high street, as well as promoting health, cleaning the air and helping to combat the climate emergency.”
Councillor David Lloyd, Co-Chair of the Board and Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “The plan is to create a neighbourhood in which residents can all get the goods and services we need within a twenty minute walking or cycling trip of their house, offering a genuine alternative to cars and public transport.
“The District Council already has well established plans to address congestion, reduce carbon impacts and encourage walking and cycling, and this scheme fully encompasses our aspirations for the town’s future.”