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Identifying town centre heritage that is at risk

Posted onPosted on 19th Aug

Historic buildings in Newark are beginning to reap the benefits of an investment of £550,000 as Newark’s High Street Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) project commences.

After Newark and Sherwood District Council’s successful bid to Historic England’s £95m Heritage Action Zone fund last year, work to assess some of the town’s most historic buildings in Newark has started.

Hear more from Councillor David Lloyd on the plans by watching:

Newark’s HSHAZ project is focused on identifying remedial work that is required on heritage at risk buildings in Newark to ensure that they withstand the test of time and are still standing strong in another 100 years.

The council said to preserve Newark’s most important historical buildings, it was vital that the funding was put to immediate use to undertake surveys, feasibility assessment reports and appraisals of a number of buildings, including the Grade II listed former White Hart on the Market Place and the Grade II listed Corn Exchange.

The grant from Historic England for £275,000 was match funded by the district council and private-sector funding brought the total investment in the project to £550,000.

Over five years, once the scope of works required to preserve these buildings is fully understood, repairs and improvements to historic properties will start. This will likely include the replacement and development of historic shop fronts as well as restoring residential space on the upper floors of some buildings to help reduce business rates for local retailers.

Newark’s HSHAZ programme includes a package of interventions and projects that will also help transform and restore disused and dilapidated buildings into new homes, shops, work places and community spaces, restoring local historic character and improve public realm.

The council hopes that the measures will restore and support a range of other initiatives, all aimed at unlocking the town’s full heritage potential, to make it a destination for people to live, work and visit.

The council worked closely with Historic England to propose sites for the HSHAZ project spanning the entire medieval core of the town. This area ranges from the Castle area to the Market Place via the important retail streets of Kirk Gate, Stodman Street and Middle Gate. Bridge Street, Carter Gate (as far as Beaumond Cross Junction/Portland Street), Castle Gate, Appleton Gate and the Wharf were also identified.

In addition to the works to buildings, work on a three-year cultural programme running alongside the main HSHAZ project has also commenced. This part of the programme focuses on offering a programme of events and activities, which will encourage residents and visitors to the town centre.

The cultural side of the HSHAZ project is being managed by a cultural consortium, made up of a number of partners including Inspire (Culture, Libraries and Learning), Newark Civic Trust, Newark Heritage Trust, Newark Book Festival, Newark and Sherwood CVS and Newark and Sherwood College (Schools of Violin, Piano and Woodwind).

The cultural programme will offer high quality artistic activities to build pride, confidence and re-engage communities post-pandemic.

It will include events targeted at all sections of the community including children, families, adults, isolated older residents and visitors.

The aim of the three-year programme is to leave a strong legacy and sustainable programme that will continue beyond the funding window of this project to ensure that cultural activities and events become aligned with Newark as a destination for residents and visitors.

Coun David Lloyd, district council leader, said: “Newark is a fine historic town with a compact medieval street network and a significant number of listed buildings. It is well known for the Church of St Mary Magdalene, Newark Castle, Newark Palace Theatre and the attractive Market Place.

“This funding will help refresh and enhance Newark’s architectural, historical and cultural heritage thus creating a vibrant economy for local people, businesses and visitors to enjoy. We are pleased to receive Historic England’s support.”

Eilis Scott, Historic England acting regional director, Midlands, addede: “We are delighted to be investing in the repair and revitalisation of historic buildings within Newark town centre.

“The scheme will not only see buildings restored but will also help breathe new cultural and economic life into the high street.”