Newark and Sherwood District Council has finalised its plans to transform the former Marks & Spencer site on Stodman Street in Newark to bring new homes, shops and employment opportunities to the town centre.
A planning application has been submitted by architects RG+P Ltd to build a new site comprising a mixed-use housing and commercial development featuring 29 new homes and between two to four new retail units.
The Council took ownership of the site in March 2020. Despite marketing the building, no viable offers or approaches for large retail premises were made, but it was clear there was an interest for smaller retail spaces. This led the District Council to explore how the current building could be reconfigured and repurposed.
The redevelopment of the site was one of nine priority projects set out in Newark’s ‘Town Investment Plan’ (TIP) which was developed by a dedicated Newark Towns Fund Board, including more than 30 private and public businesses and bodies. These plans were given the go ahead by central government in March 2021 as part of its Towns Fund initiative and £25 million funding was awarded to Newark.
The TIP identified concern from residents about empty properties and the lack of housing. It also found that just 3% of Newark’s population live in the town centre and noted the limited offer, especially for general market housing and the private rented sector.
To address this concern, the new homes are expected to be available for residents by 2023/4 and will comprise one and two-bed apartments for private sale. By increasing the resident population, it is forecast that the town centre will benefit from an increase in spend, use of facilities, footfall, new jobs and improved access to services.
The District Council has also secured £284k in additional grant funding for the project through the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government’s Brownfield Land Release Fund, in partnership with North Midlands One Public Estate. This funding will support the cost of the demolition and remediation works and will allow for the scheme to be completed sooner than initially targeted.
If planning permission is granted, demolition works are due to begin in April 2022, with construction on site targeted for a start date of November 2022.
Councillor David Lloyd, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and co-chair of Newark Towns Fund Board, said: “These are really exciting plans for Newark, to create new, high quality homes, retail space and job opportunities in the heart of the town centre. This will in turn drive local activity, footfall, dwell time and public spend, ultimately driving a catalyst to wider town-centre regeneration.
“I know that since the site became vacant in spring 2019 there has been a visible gap on the high street, which isn’t at all appealing to residents and visitors. Thanks to central government funding we can now submit these plans to redesign the area and bring this key site back into use for everyone to enjoy.”