We are members of a focus group in Newark called Professionals In Newark (PIN) writing in response to three articles in the Advertiser on July 19.
Firstly, the closure of Marks and Spencer’s Stodman Street store and the cancellation of the contract for the Maltings Retail Park is seriously bad news for Newark.
A possible new Simply Food is not much consolation at all.
Three of us were at meetings held by the Newark business community with council representatives over the past few months.
There were assurances that it was the “fourth best performing small M&S store in the country and they would never close it.”
Now M&S have announced that they will close this store.
Is this decision in any way still negotiable?
Newark and Sherwood District Council’s Cleaner Safer Greener initiative is a good start, but it would have been more productive if the council had involved the community and consulted with groups, such as the Green Party and Keep Newark Tidy litter-pickers, as well as businesses, schools and community groups.
Fines for littering are unlikely to be paid. Much better that litter droppers are given the option to work with one of the local litter-picking groups for a session or two.
That way they would learn just how much litter is dropped and how long it lasts.
Sending out information packs and “hoping” to find funds to hire two wardens is not enough.
We need people in Newark to be involved in sorting our problems.
We need teachers to educate children — and thereby parents — about littering and recycling; we need more police and council safety officers on the streets at early evening and night-time to deter anti-social behaviour; and we need more and bigger bins.
Finally, the report that market income is falling, despite council support.
Ian Harrison is making a fantastic effort to get more traders into our market.
This is to be applauded, but the evidence of the scale of the problem is plain everywhere.
Markets, town centres, high streets and independent shops are threatened with previously unseen levels of closures and deterioration.
Our town, district and county councils need to be proactive and further ahead than where they are with this.
We need urgent consultations with interested groups about alternative and additional uses for buildings, shops and the many assets of Newark.
We have ideas and imaginative solutions for the problems of Newark town centre and we would welcome much more open and productive dialogue with the local councils.
We ask that anyone interested in these matters contacts their local councillor as soon as possible and asks them what has been done, is being done and is planned for the future. We would like to know. — Jenni Harding, Wendy Baird, Suzie Jones, Molly Chesney and Wendy Patterson, Newark (Full address supplied).