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Newark & Sherwood Plan Review - Publication Amended Core Strategy

Southwell Area

Southwell Area

6.75     The Southwell Area covers much of the southern central part of the District. At its heart Southwell provides an important focus as a Service Centre for the area with a Secondary School, Leisure Centre, town centre with a range of local independent shops and a market on Saturdays. The town also has a small supermarket and two industrial estates. Southwell is a distinctive town containing the Minster and associated diocesan administration, a wealth of historic buildings and a large Conservation Area. Whilst this may appear to give the town a timeless appeal, like any other community Southwell is a living one which is evolving to meet the needs of its citizens. In 2005 Southwell Town Forum prepared a 'Town Plan' which aimed to capture the thoughts of the community on how Southwell should develop, the plan set a Vision which stated; Southwell will be a town where: 

  • There is a strong sense of community, inclusiveness and civic pride, reinforced by a strong community support and social network;
  • Young people can grow up, realise their potential and continue to live in the town; There is a vibrant (economic and social) town centre that people want to use; There is a pedestrian friendly environment and traffic is calmed;
  • The visual and historic assets are protected and put to best use for residents and visitors;
  • Disabled people can move freely around without undue difficulty or hindrance; and Residents and visitors feel safe. 

In October 2016 Newark and Sherwood District Council adopted the Southwell Neighbourhood Plan. This includes a Vision that comprises three elements:  

  • Building a Strong Community – ensuring that the community is supported by a strong social structure and appropriate infrastructure;  
  • Supporting a Vibrant Trading Environment – to develop the economic vibrancy of the town and its hinterland; and 
  • Delivering a Good Place to Live – Ensure the protection and enhancement of the natural and built environment and leisure facilities whilst allowing appropriate new development. 

6.76     The District Council has carried out a Conservation Area Character Appraisal of Southwell's Conservation Area which was adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document in July 2005. The Appraisal reaches a series of conclusions regarding the protection of the Conservation Area; of particular concern is the need to ensure that its rural nature is preserved along with its landscape setting and the important open spaces both public and those associated with Prebendal houses within it. Beyond the Conservation Area to the east of the town is the Thurgarton Hundred Workhouse which is a National Trust property, and is one of the best preserved workhouses remaining in England; it is on a prominent ridgeline overlooking the Upton Road into the town.

6.77     Through the Town Centre and Retail Study (2016), it has been identified that the centre would benefit from additional leisure uses, increased and improved parking provision and the alleviation of traffic congestion.  Whilst vacancies were, at the time of survey, below the national average it remains important that suitable proposals for re-use are supported.

SoAP 1

Role and Setting of Southwell

Promote Southwell‘s role as a Service Centre for the town and the surrounding area, protecting and enhancing the existing historic environment which makes the town attractive to residents and visitors. In order to achieve this the District Council and its partners will seek to:

  • Encourage the retention of existing, and development of new, community facilities;
  • Encourage the development of new business, local employment and housing, including affordable housing, to ensure Southwell is a sustainable place to live and work in line with the Spatial Strategy of the plan and the Southwell Neighbourhood Plan. Sites have been will be allocated to help meet this requirement in line with the requirements of Spatial Policy 9 with a particular requirement to consider the impact on the town’s landscape setting; 
  • Protect and enhance the retail offer of the town by designating a town centre boundary and primary shopping frontages and encourage retail and other town centre uses within it; 
  • Promote a competitive and healthy Town Centre which is host to an appropriate composition of main Town Centre uses, proves to be resilient and adaptive to change and is able to thrive and grow over the plan period. This will be achieved through:
    • Managing retail and other main Town Centre use development in line with Core Policy 8, So/DC/1 and Policy DM11;
    • Promoting the re-use of vacant and underused shops and other buildings within the Town Centre, and securing the redevelopment of vacant sites for appropriate main Town Centre uses;
    • Supporting the opportunities to deliver additional leisure uses within the Town Centre;
    • Seeking to secure additional car parking capacity which is either able to directly serve the Town Centre or alternatively relieve pressure on existing Town Centre parking facilities; and
    • The District Council using the development management process and working proactively to attract and deliver new investment and/or development to realise the above. 
  • Protect and enhance the historic character of Southwell Conservation Area, ensuring that new development respects the form and function of the town and addresses the findings of the Southwell Conservation Area Character Appraisal SPD;
  • Identify, protect and enhance the setting of Southwell, including the views of Southwell Minster, the ruins of the Archbishop's Palace and the Workhouse in line with Policy So/PV Southwell Protected Views and So/WH Thurgarton Hundred Workhouse;
  • Promote the town as a destination for tourism and leisure activities encouraging events and festivals which attract visitors; and
  • Seek to resolve traffic issues in the town and secure improved public transport provision including developing access to the ‘Castle Line’ rail services.