NAP1 - Newark Urban Area

3.3 There is an acknowledged shortage within Newark Town Centre, given its historic nature, of larger format units which meet the needs of modern retailers. Should this go unaddressed then the pressure for out-of-centre applications for retail development, and proposals to widen 'bulky goods' conditions on existing retail parks is likely to increase. Accordingly NAP1 is proposed for amendment, establishing support for the provision of new units and the amalgamation of existing units, where acceptable in heritage terms, in order to redress this situation.

3.4 In terms of the levels of vacancy, whilst falling below the national average there were around 50 vacant units (at the time of survey) and the concentration around particular areas of the centre can leave the perception that they are higher. For example the Buttermarket is an attractive and unique space which could enhance the Town Centre's offer, but which is appears to be failing given its vacancy levels. There are also concentrations of vacant units along Barnby and Carter Gate. It is important in terms of the health and vitality of the centre that vacancies, particularly those of a long-term nature, are addressed. Consequently the policy will be amended underlining this as an objective, and the Buttermarket and Carter Gate area have been identified as locations where improvement schemes will be explored.

3.5 Newark market is a key asset of the centre, as reflected in the results of household and in-centre surveys, contributing towards its vitality and attracting visitors from both inside and outside the District. Supporting the continuation of a viable Newark market now forms a strategic objective for the Newark Area, with appropriate cross-referencing to Policy DM11 being provided to ensure that, where appropriate, new retail development properly assess its impact on the market.

3.6 The Town Centre & Retail Study concludes that leisure provision within the centre is below average and that there is potential for the expansion of its food and beverage offer. With the intention that the attraction of national multiples to the centre, complimenting local cafés and restaurants would appeal to visitors and help reduce the leakage of expenditure to competing centres outside of the District. In line with this the amended policy would support opportunities to deliver tourism and leisure uses, particularly those which exploit the Town's historic heritage and increase provision in an around the Town Centre and Newark's riverside area.

3.7 Through the health check of the centre the importance of addressing long-term vacancy and environmental improvements has been underlined. The commitment to identifying, planning and delivering schemes which will improve and enhance the quality of the Town Centre's offer and environment would be provided as part of the revised policy. With the Buttermarket, Carter Gate and Appleton Gate being identified as priority areas. Key to this aspect of the policy will be the exploration of a Town Centre Strategy bringing together the various stakeholders involved in the management and operation of the centre.

3.8 The policy includes an amendment to recognise the critical role which the District Council can play, as landowner and working with partners (such as Newark Town Council) to provide strategic direction for the management of the centre in order to deliver objectives.

3.9 The preferred approach to amending the retail and Town Centre elements of NAP1 is set out below. Please refer to the Preferred Approach - Settlements & Sites consultation paper for the full policy text. Should you wish to comment on the amended NAP1, then this should also be done through the Settlements & Sites consultation paper.