Agenda item

Newark Towns Fund Update


The Committee considered the report presented by the Director – Planning & Growth which sought to update Members on discussions with the Government following the submission of the Newark Town Investment Plan (TIP) on 31 July, which was part of cohort 1.  Paragraph 3.0 of the report set out that 7 places within cohort 1 had been announced with negotiations progressing to develop Heads of Terms and Business Cases.  Following the Newark TIP submission a number of qualifications had been provided to the Government for assessing the proposals.  A decision on this was expected during November 2020.  If successful the Council would then be invited to negotiate and agree Heads of Terms with the Government, alongside a timetable to develop Business Cases within the next 12 months for all supported projects.  Feedback prior to submission had been that the submission was strong, ambitious, transformative and deliverable. 


In considering the report, Members agreed that the TIP showed the breadth of the ambitions and deserved the support of central Government.  A Member specifically referred to the whole vision of the Gateway Site noting that this had been an ambition of the Council for a number of years.  In supporting the TIP, a Member queried what, if any, alternative plans were in place should the funding levels not match the level the Council wanted.  The Director advised that should the funding levels be lower than anticipated, a number of projects would still be delivered but in a phased approach and potentially exploring additional funding sources and/or structures.


In relation to the possible relocation of the Newark Lorry Park, a Member queried as to whether its current popularity was due to its close proximity to the town centre and whether this would wain should it be relocated to the Newark Showground.  The Director advised that a period of consultation would be undertaken with drivers to ascertain what would continue to make it attractive to them when relocated.  It would also be necessary to look at what would replace the lorry park and what benefits its replacement would bring to the town. 


The Chairman referred to the proposal to repurpose the upper floors of the former Marks & Spencer site into residential accommodation.  He noted that this change would lead the way with landlords of other businesses doing the same.  It also had a cost benefit for ongoing revenue as having residential accommodation above a commercial premise would result in a reduction in business rates. 


The Chairman expressed his disappointment with the way in which the matter had been reported on national media stating that the town should not be disadvantaged due to the fact that their MP was a Minister.  He added that the whole of the district would feel the benefit of the improvements in Newark and that the plans were ambitious, deliverable and should be supported without delay.


AGREED      (unanimously) that:


(a)     the ongoing negotiations with Government to secure a capital contribution from the Towns Fund of up to £25m be noted;


(b)     the ongoing progress of the Newark Town Investment Plan projects listed in Section 2.0 of the report be noted;

(c)     Policy & Finance Committee be recommended:


(i)    to allocate the appropriate budget to secure the demolition and secure holding of the existing Cattle Market site;


(ii)   to allocate the appropriate budget to undertake feasibility works on the relocation of the Cattle Market and Newark Lorry Park to Newark Showground or other identified site(s); and


(iii)  to allocate the appropriate budget to undertake feasibility work on developing the existing Cattle Market and Newark Lorry Park site to accommodate the Newark Town Investment Plan aspirations.

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