Councils pledge to breathe new life into Newark Buttermarket
A bright new future is being lined up for Newark’s Buttermarket and Royal Exchange following the completion of their sale to Newark and Sherwood District Council and Newark Town Council.
The two councils are working in partnership to revitalise the two key buildings which have been left largely empty for some months.
A phased plan of action is being drawn up that will initially see activity and life brought back in the buildings following necessary refurbishments and repairs.
This will allow longer term solutions to be explored, building upon the already strong market interest which has been shown by new retail and leisure offers not currently in the town.
Both councils regard the iconic buildings as playing a major and strategic role in boosting the town’s retail, cultural and leisure offer.
Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council Councillor David Lloyd said: “Retailers are facing increasingly difficult times and councils need to take an active and leading role in shaping our town centres, their economies and leisure aspirations.
“These are important buildings and we will be working alongside local businesses to ensure they are brimming with activity again and help contribute to the further development of Newark as a thriving town.”
Given the buildings’ central location there are the opportunities to link up with the town’s other heritage and culture offers – the Castle, the Town Hall Museum and the National Civil War Centre.
Councillor Max Cope, deputy leader of Newark Town Council, said: “We look forward to working with the district council to find an imaginative and useful purpose for these buildings. There is an exciting opportunity for the councils to work together to breathe new investment and life into a prime location in the middle of the town. ”
Since 2014 the property has been owned by an overseas company and managed by remote agents. While there has been significant recent investment in the fabric of the buildings, concerns have been raised at the lack of occupancy of existing units.
The property was unexpectedly presented to the market via a London auction in December 2018 when both councils saw an opportunity to bring them back into local ownership. The buildings were secured prior to auction at a cost of £800,000; this is significantly less than the £1.3m paid by the previous owners in 2014.