A closed down Marks & Spencer shop will get new lease of life after an ‘incredibly exciting’ plan was approved.
The former Marks & Spencer site on Stodman Street in Newark will be converted into 29 apartments and up to four retail units, after permission was granted by Newark and Sherwood District Council on February 15.
The store closed in 2019, but will not remain empty for much longer, with building work due to begin in April and the new homes expected to be available for residents by 2024.
Local businesses were positive about the new plans, which said was said to be “very positive” for the street.
Hajra Kemari, 51, owner of Petit Versailles dress shop in Stodman Street, said: “I’ve been here for six years, so I was here when it was closed.
“For anything new to come into town is nice really, it is better to have something that brings people in no matter what it is.
“I think it’s a good idea though, as maybe having more people living here in the town centre would mean that more people would be out shopping locally.
“It’s very positive for the area, we need to see more new things coming here as there are two or three shops that are now closed on the street now.”
There will be 16 one-bed and 13 two-bed apartments and a shared amenity space would also be provided on the third floor with 12 car parking spaces, a motorbike parking spot and 48 cycle spaces.
The plans were submitted by architects RG+P Ltd.
Theresa Errol, 44, director of Inizio hair salon on Stodman Street, said: “There’s got to be something for people to come into town for and I’m glad there’s going to be shop space still.
“I heard the bottom floor was going to be pubs but it seems like that’s not happening now, which would have been good.
“It’s nice to see something is being done with it though, it’s definitely much better than it being empty.
“You could notice the difference when Marks & Spencer’s left, less people were coming into town.
“It was a shame that M&S closed down but it’s nice to see a plan that will bring people into town again.”
The redevelopment is one of nine priority projects outlined in Newark’s ‘Town Investment Plan’ (TIP), developed by the Newark Towns Fund Board.
It is hoped that the increased amount of housing in the town centre would boost spending in the are, the use of facilities, footfall and create new jobs.
Councillor David Lloyd, Leader of Newark and Sherwood District Council and Co-Chair of Newark Towns Fund Board, said: “It is incredibly exciting that following approval from the Planning Committee, we can start to make tangible progress towards the redevelopment of the former Marks & Spencer site.
“Despite our best efforts, no retailer was prepared to take on the big site as it currently stands.
“These plans will provide an excellent opportunity to breathe life back into this vacant space with an interesting and imaginative design that is sympathetic to the surrounding heritage buildings in Newark town centre and materially enhance the quality of the public realm.
“In addition, by creating new high-quality homes, retail space and job opportunities, this redevelopment will benefit our town and its residents in the long term.”
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