Details of a new nightclub in Newark’s historic Corn Exchange building will be revealed “in the next six to eight weeks” after councillors approved its licence.
The owner of the Castle Gate site appeared before a Newark and Sherwood District Council licensing panel on Monday (April 3) looking to get the building reopened.
It follows years of negotiations and legal discussions between the applicant and the Conservative-led authority over plans for the Grade-II listed building.
Initial plans were lodged in 2020 before an agreed licence for the whole building was approved in summer 2022.
Now the owners have had a separate licence for the ground and first floors approved after a tenant was found to bring part of the historic building back into use.
The licence will allow a nightclub and bar to operate from 8am each day on the ground and first floors.
It will close at 2am on Mondays and Wednesdays, 3.30am on Thursdays and Sundays, and 4.30am on Fridays and Saturdays.
The sale of alcohol will be limited to 2am, 3am and 4am respectively.
This agreement mirrors the same licence approved for the wider building last year but is only valid for the ground and first floors.
The meeting heard this is to safeguard the future of the wider building if the new tenant was to become insolvent or the licence lapsed.
Speaking in the meeting, Matt Clark, of Corn Exchange Newark, told councillors: “This licence is purely a shadow of the one already granted.
“The premises can open already, as it is, with a larger capacity and area being used.
“But I think this licence is proportionate to the town and I believe this premises being reopened helps the town centre and the community.
“The trade is not buoyant enough as far as the day and night-time economy goes.
“Let’s hope we can work together in order to improve the town centre.”
However, an objecting neighbour raised concerns about the potential impact on the town centre and its residents.
Antony Aspbury, who lives nearby in Mill Gate, believes the venue could cause noise, disturbance and anti-social behaviour.
His issues stemmed from similar problems at the venue when it operated in previous forms in the past.
He told the meeting: “I respect that people want to attend venues.
“But the reality is, the nature of this venue – and the context it sits – will attract the wrong sorts of people.
“We, as local residents, have the right of a reasonable existence free of crime and anti-social behaviour.
“I accept it’s a minority, but it’s a minority that has a major impact – and on the reputation of the town.
“We’re trying to encourage and develop the town.
“But, if there’s urine and defecation in the streets and broken bottles, that’s not conducive to the image of the town.”
In response, Mr Clark said he wasn’t “going to argue” about past issues at the venue but said there wasn’t a guarantee this would be repeated.
Councillors adjourned the meeting for about 20 minutes before confirming the application had been approved.
Mr Clark said: “It’s really good to get the support from the council and I look forward to seeing the venue back open.
“The public can expect a very swift turnaround.
“The tenant is very eager to get on so I imagine certainly, in the next six to eight weeks, we’ll be looking to getting the place advertised and announced.”
He also confirmed another part of the building could be turned into a Turkish cafe and restaurant, with a separate licensing application likely to follow.