The Making Mansfield Place Board has outlined its ambitious plans for how up to £25m of funding would be spent on improving the district.
The Place Board, which features representatives from a wide range of partner organisations, has agreed the 13 projects that would benefit from the Government’s Towns Fund.
As part of the funding bid, Mansfield District Council submitted a Mansfield District Investment Plan to the Government last week (Friday 30 October 2020), on behalf of the Place Board.
The plan includes total investment of more than £70m, the creation of 15,000 square metres of new commercial space through repurposing land and disused buildings, and the creation of 2,275 additional further education places over five years.
The priority projects, which come under five key themes for improvement – town centres, skills and growth, transport and connectivity, health and wellbeing, and identity and brand, are:
- Mansfield Connect – the creation of a hub for partnership organisations, which would provide office, commercial and education space to increase footfall and spend in the town centre.
- Warsop Heritage Action Zone – improvement of shop fronts through match funding to re-energise the high street.
- Town Centre Student Development – provision of student accommodation in a repurposed building to support a student population in Mansfield.
- Mansfield Skills Development Fund – training and activities to upskill local people and fill skills gaps.
- Mansfield Woodhouse Station Gateway 3 – provision of light industrial workspace to provide 20 new jobs within four business start-up units.
- West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham Trent University Future Tech Skills and Knowledge Exchange – redevelopment of college’s Chesterfield Road site into a high-tech skills and knowledge transfer facility, to secure high value employment in priority skill areas.
- Connected Mansfield Programme – increased use of technology and digital connectivity to turn Mansfield into a ‘SMART’ town. This includes digital signs to places of interest and bus stops with live timing updates.
- Town access improvements and cycle infrastructure – pedestrian and cycling improvements to promote healthy choices for residents travelling around the district.
- Accessible transport fund – improving access to transport including the relocation of key town centre taxi rank, subsidy of specific bus routes and introducing click and collect model for local businesses.
- Warsop Community Leisure Hub – a new leisure community hub with outreach health support.
- Healthy Mansfield Programme – access to health benefits / active lifestyle programme including creation of a Healthy Mansfield app.
- Destination Mansfield parks and sports facilities – the creation of a destination park by linking Berry Hill Park and King George V Park. This includes refurbishing the athletics track at Berry Hill Park, creating children’s play and woodland walks.
- District-wide branding exercise, cultural and events programme – to draw on local history and links to Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest, host new cultural events and activities to promote a sense of aspiration among residents and support efforts to encourage businesses to invest in Mansfield.
The environment will be a key consideration in the projects, which all aspire to have low-carbon solutions in line with Mansfield’s green agenda.
Executive Mayor of Mansfield Andy Abrahams said: “This bid provides an exciting opportunity to inject much-needed government funding into our district to help transform it and make it a destination of choice for living, working and learning.
“Our agenda is all about green, health and new technology so we want to invest in smart technology to improve all the main gateways into Mansfield, making it a green space that is welcoming and encourages pedestrians and cyclists. We want more people living in the town centre, so access and getting about the town is key for our future success.”
Andrew Cropley, Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College and Chair of the Making Mansfield Place Board, said: “The Future Tech, Skills and Knowledge Exchange will bring 600 or 700 students here daily, which will benefit our town centre. It is not just about the skills of today but the skills of tomorrow, making sure that people are able to access high-paid, high-quality, forward looking, secure employment. It’s also about enabling our local businesses to upskill their employees so they can become more productive, embrace new technologies, enter new markets, grow their businesses and offer yet more opportunities to local people.”
The Place Board is committed to working with the community on this ambitious programme. The creation of the investment plan was based on consultation with business leaders, partners, education providers and public sector organisations. It also took into account the results of a town centre business survey, stakeholder engagement sessions and public feedback from the #MyTown campaign.
A decision on the Towns Fund is expected in January 2021. Further work will then be done to draw up plans before the final projects are delivered between 2022 and 2026.
In addition to the Towns Fund bid, the district council is awaiting a decision from the Government on a bid of up to £25m from the Future High Streets Fund. The council was recently awarded £1m in to kick-start the Towns Fund improvements. This will be spent on greening the town centre and creating urban pocket parks.
Find out more about the Towns Fund bid at www.mansfield.gov.uk/TownsFund.
Visit https://youtu.be/qd-X-MpfGxI to watch a short video featuring key partners including Richard Crisp, Commercial Business Executive at Mansfield Building Society and Deputy Chair of Mansfield Place Board; Nikki Rolls, Chief Executive Officer of Mansfield BID; and Maddy Pritchard, key stakeholder for Vibrant Warsop.