Mayor sets out vision for high streets and visitor economy in Newark

Mayor Claire Ward and councillor Paul Peacock

Backing high streets and championing the region’s visitor economy were two key priorities outlined by the East Midlands mayor on a visit to Newark on Friday (May 17).

Claire Ward, who was recently elected as the first ever East Midlands mayor, visited Newark where she met with small business owners, community leaders and representatives from Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The visit included a tour around the town’s historic marketplace, conversations with the owner of local independent business BeanBlock Community Café.

Representatives from the council provided a tour of current projects in the town, including the Riverside regeneration project, the redevelopment of a former retail space on Stodman Street into living accommodation and a trip to Newark Castle to learn about the Gatehouse project, which will be a key attraction to help bring more visitors into the town.

Ward said: “I’ve had a great visit to Newark to see the potential they have and learn about the extra investment they have received and how it’s being used to revitalise the town centre.

“We’re seeing local towns and cities across the region recognising that the future of our high streets is a mixed economy with services, community activities, housing, and a great retail offer. Providing this mix of uses helps increase visitor numbers which will ensure places can thrive, creating new jobs and opportunities for our residents.

“The most exciting part of being mayor is looking at the all the fantastic work being done by councils across the region and thinking about how strategically we can bring together the funding and powers from Westminster to support these areas and deliver the changes our residents want to see.”

Councillor Paul Peacock, leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council, said: “We’re thrilled to welcome the first ever regional Mayor for the East Midlands Claire Ward to our wonderful town of Newark. It’s an exciting time for the area and through collaborative working, we’re eager to bring more opportunities, a bigger voice and more influence locally.

“Championing our High Streets, supporting job growth and making places more vibrant are some of our top priorities and these are shared by the East Midlands Combined Authority.

“We both share a passion for making our town centres a bustling place to visit by working to increase footfall through several means including events and business engagement. We’re looking forward to the next few years of positive collaboration that will benefit our residents across the district.”

Ward was elected as the first Mayor of the East Midlands Region on Friday 3 May. As Mayor she will lead the East Midlands Combined County Authority (EMCCA) and, over time, have access to over £4bn in funding, alongside devolved powers around transport, housing, skills and adult education, net zero and economic development.