Select Committee on Environment, Transport and Regional Affairs Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum by Newark and Sherwood District Council (IW 74)



  Newark and Sherwood is a predominantly rural district in North Nottinghamshire. The major settlement is the market town of Newark with a population of 35,000. The western area of the District contains a number of mining and former mining settlements, which have lost four collieries and 10,000 jobs since 1989. As a result of these and other job losses in traditional industries the Council is committed to economic regeneration throughout the District.

  There are approximately 30 miles of navigable waterway on the River Trent within the District of Newark and Sherwood. Much of this river basin has been subject to Sand and Gravel extraction, which has produced recreational facilities following completion of the works.

  The Regeneration of Newark's Riverside area has been the focus of considerable public and private sector investment since 1996 when Newark and Sherwood District Council successfully secured £3.75 million of Government funding as part of a five year £17 million regeneration programme. The regeneration of this area is perhaps the biggest challenge currently facing the local authority and its partners in developing the future of Newark, but it is also the most exciting and fundamental opportunity to be realised in affecting the future prosperity of the town.

  In 1996, the Gateways to Newark Partnership was established to implement the regeneration programme for the area with the following vision;

    To Regenerate the Northgate Riverside area of Newark into a thriving Gateway for the next Millennium.


  The rationale behind the Riverside Regeneration initiative was founded in the historical legacy of the town's industrial heritage, which has resulted in the dereliction of much of the area following the demise of the brewing and malting industries. The area falls within the towns Conservation area with two very prominent listed buildings, which make a significant contribution to the overall physical characteristics of the Riverside area. Historical transport links reflect the importance of this area to the local economy with an old branch line from the main Newark Northgate Station to the regional Castle Station running through the target regeneration area, crossing the River Trent. Today there remains the evidence of the embankment and the route of part of the line now makes up part of the Riverside Walk. The land ownerships are fragmented throughout the area resulting in difficulties in achieving a strategic approach to redevelopment.


  The physical regeneration of the Riverside area was the key objective of the Single Regeneration Budget Funding (round 3) bid from the Gateways to Newark Partnership (mid term report appended). However, the Regeneration of the Riverside area provided a strong hook on which to hang a comprehensive integrated package of initiatives, including training and education projects targeted at pockets of deprivation away from the Riverside area. In this way, the Riverside Strategy provided a focused rationale for a holistic package of funding to benefit the wider town, both directly and indirectly. The target area on the riverside falls within the wards of Bridge (unemployment rate 5.4 per cent) and Castle (unemployment rate 4.4 per cent) which exhibit socio-economic problems as illustrated by the Index of Deprivation.

  Given the changing patterns of land use and the growth in the recreation and leisure interests, it has become apparent that there are a number of inappropriate land uses along the riverside. For example, there are a number of important sites which have become derelict, including the grade 2 listed Northgate Brewery building and a scrap yard.

  As such, a committed Partnership approach to revitalising the area has been developed with a significant input from British Waterways from the outset. Indeed, British Waterways played an instrumental role in helping to initiate the regeneration process by committing funding to the redevelopment of the Kiln Warehouse. BW own this building which is listed and had stood derelict for years prior to its conversion into 1,900sqm of prestigious Riverside frontage office accommodation which is also their East Midlands office. This accommodation is fully let following a £2.5 million redevelopment project which involved commitment from English Partnerships (now part of East Midlands Development Agency), and English Heritage as well as British Waterways themselves and the Gateways to Newark Partnership which enabled the Tow Path improvements and floating moorings to be completed. The Tow Path is planned to be linked with a footbridge under the Trent Bridge to the path adjacent the Riverside Park as part of a joint initiative between British Waterways and the Gateways to Newark Partnership.

  The Riverside setting of the Regeneration area provides an obvious context for a leisure or recreation led Strategy to redevelop the area. A key project in this is the construction of a new Marina for British Waterways directly opposite the main derelict sites and derelict Northgate Brewery Building. This project has come to fruition as the direct result of the District Council's Economic Development Unit working closely with British Waterways to overcome barriers to the implementation of the project. The benefits of the new 160 berth marina are felt to be particularly important in terms of the general commercial confidence which the investment has generated from the private sector. There is a new 7,500sqm non-food retail development under construction on the Riverside area which will be home to the "Big W" Woolworths concept, which bears this out.

  The marina is also being constructed in an environmentally sensitive way with the removal of approximately 120,000 tonnes of sand and gravel from the basin by barge over a six month period. This will be transported to Cromwell Lock where it will be processed for use in the local construction industry. This will save 30 articulated lorry movements per day to and from the site. Following the construction of the £1 million project (SRB £350,000, BW £650,000 NSDC £25,000) it is anticipated that the new Marina will add considerably to Newark's appeal as a tourist town with the development estimated to contribute up to £¼ million of additional expenditure to the town.

  British Waterways work closely with the District Council in delivering the Riverside Festival on the new Riverside Park which the District Council has recently reclaimed from the former cattle market. The three day festival attracted 100 boats and 14,000 people into the area last summer. BW have just committed to a three year development of the Festival which will extend the programme along the Riverside and new Marina (£15,000 per year). This commitment has enabled NSDC to submit major funding applications to the Arts Council of England for the development of artistic programme of Festival. The Partnership approach for the Festival is excellent example of effective working to achieve a common aim—the confidence in partnership working and overall success of the Festival has attracted significant third party funding with a regional reputation as a Festival of excellence (East Midlands Arts refers).

  The District Council has implemented other projects which have made a significant contribution to the recreational attractions of the area, including improvements to the Newark Castle grounds, over-looking the Trent, and the construction of a new Riverside Walk which will complete a circular route on both sides of the river and adjacent to the new marina.

  As well as being a recreational resource the River Trent is also a commercial waterway providing a direct link to Gainsborough and the Humber ports. Although water transport currently plays only a small role in the distribution of goods in the district, the District Council considers that the use of the River for freight distribution should be encouraged. This is reflected in Policy T23 of the District wide Local Plan which states that, "planning permission should be granted for appropriate freight facilities on the River Trent, where they will reduce environmental or congestion problems on the road network and will not have an adverse impact on the environment.

  Environmental improvements form a key element of the overall Strategy. To this end, as well as the improvements to the Kiln Towpath in front of the Kiln Warehouse building, a new pocket park on the site of the former BW offices has come under construction which will incorporate a number of interesting features such as musical railings and artistic water fountain. The new Riverside Park constructed by the District Council on the site of the former Cattle Market has reclaimed over a hectare of derelict land which has made a fundamental impact in the Riverside environment and the scope for continued recreational amenity and public festivals. The construction of the new Riverside Walk has improved public access around the Riverside area and encouraged greater interest in the general workings of waterway management, boating and the associated wildlife of the River Trent. This will increase further when the new retail development is completed in 2002, with the resultant shift in pedestrian flows.


  In conclusion, a strong case can be made to enable BW to adopt a more entrepreneurial role given their considerable experience in managing waterside developments. However, it is fundamental to the regeneration process that BW should continue to be regarded as a public sector organisation, albeit one which works in an increasingly commercial manner. This will enable the maximum uptake of available resources, including those of the Regional Development Agency for the East Midlands, and a more effective partnership approach to riverside regeneration in Newark.

  Inland Waterways offer a considerable asset to public recreation, leisure and amenity and a natural focus in the case of Newark, to build a regeneration programme around. They add an extra dimension to building confidence and links with developers with the capacity to promote mixed use schemes on the Riverside.

November 2000

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