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Newark & Sherwood Local Development Framework Plan Review - Preferred Approach Town Centre & Retail

ShAP2 - Role of Ollerton & Boughton

3.15 The findings of the TC&RS health check show the centre's comparison retail representation to be relatively weak and below national averages. The non-food goods offer is lacking and there are currently no clothing stores within the centre (other than the offer provided by Tesco). The centre was found to be dominated by a lower quality retail provision (including an e-cigerette shop, charity shops and two mobility scooter shops). Consequently ShAP2 has been amended to provide support for proposals that would promote a healthier balance convenience and comparison retail uses.

3.16 Linkages between the Tesco and Asda stores and the Town Centre have been identified as poor, despite only being located short distances away. Consequently to encourage the making of linked trips, and boost the health of the centre, ShAP2 is proposed for amendment. With the creation of improved linkages to the Town Centre being supported. In line with its amended site allocation policy the Masterplan for OB/Re/1 will be required to consider how the site can contribute towards improved linkages between Tesco / Forest Road and Sherwood Drive / Forest Road. The potential for the allocation to also form part of a comprehensive redevelopment of the wider area should also be explored, potentially incorporating the underused Forest Centre and land within the ownership of Ollerton Town Council.

3.17 Through the centre's health check a limited leisure service offer has been recorded. With half of the provision consisting of hot food take-aways, and there being only one café and no public house. The TC&RS therefore recommends that the opportunities to attract leisure operators should be explored, in order to help increase dwell times within the centre and strengthen its overall vitality and viability. It is therefore proposed that SoAP 2 be amended accordingly.

3.18 Vacancy levels within the Town Centre have been recorded as being high. At the time of survey there were nine vacant units, more than twice the number recorded in 2012 and the rate is higher than the national average. A significant concentration of vacancy was identified within the Forest Centre with the facility not currently functioning as a successful retail space. In order to address vacancy levels SoAP2 has been revised to promote positive action, through 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.

3.19 The potential for improvements to the environmental quality of the centre has been pinpointed through the TC&RS Health Check. The amended SoAP 2 supports the bringing forward of improvement schemes which would enhance both the quality of the centre's offer and environment. Recognising the benefits that strategic stakeholder driven intervention could make in addressing some of the centre's weaknesses, and realising the opportunities present, the new policy supports the exploration of an updated Ollerton Town Centre Strategy. Reflecting this, the policy also now includes an amendment to recognise the critical role which the District Council can play, in working with partners (such as Ollerton Town Council) to provide strategic direction to the management of the centre in order to deliver objectives.

3.20 The preferred approach to amending the retail and Town Centre elements of SoAP1 is set out below (changes in underlined text). Please refer to the Preferred Approach - Settlements & Sites consultation paper for the full policy text. Should you wish to comment on the amended SoAP1, then this should also be done through the Settlements & Sites consultation paper.