A major design competition has been launched inviting architects to design a significant new social housing scheme on a derelict site close to Mansfield town centre.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) is managing the competition to find an outstanding design for Mansfield’s White Hart Street area on behalf of Mansfield District Council.

Executive Mayor of Mansfield Andy Abrahams said: “We are delighted to be working with RIBA to help find a designer for this flagship redevelopment scheme.

“White Hart Street is an important area close to the town centre which has been crying out to be resurrected into something that combines the old with the new and which will breathe new life into an area which has been run-down and largely derelict for many years.

“We want to find an architect who is sensitive about the area’s heritage and excited about designing new housing that will stand the test of time, addressing the challenges of climate change, and providing affordable high quality homes that people of all ages enjoy and feel proud to live in.”    

Applications are invited from architects across the world in accordance with the requirements set out in the briefing document and selection questionnaire on the RIBA website.

Teresa Borsuk, Pollard Thomas Edwards’ and RIBA Architect Adviser for the competition said: “This is an important and exciting opportunity to transform White Hart Street in Mansfield by providing new homes and an identity that will help secure its future.”

Further information can be found on RIBA’s competition webpage (link opens in new window) including a link to register for the competition. The deadline for submission of the selection questionnaires is 12noon (GMT) on Wednesday 15 February 2023.

The land to be redeveloped is located within the Bridge Street conservation area which contains buildings of historic and architectural merit.

Full Council approved a £16.5m budget to build new council homes on this brownfield site in 2019. Architects entering the competition currently have a £14m budget for the scheme although this may increase subject to a successful bid for grant funding.

The properties are expected to be a mix of housing types, including family houses and apartments for older people, and built to the Future Homes Standard to save energy for residents, in line with the council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan. They would be added to the council’s stock of affordable homes.

The area has stood derelict for over a decade. It previously had planning permission for a mixed retail and residential scheme in 2008, but market conditions meant this scheme was never taken forward. It subsequently became blighted and has, as a consequence, become a magnet for anti-social behaviour.

The council purchased land in this area last year (2022) in order to facilitate its regeneration. Redevelopment of this area would strongly align with the council’s Growth, Aspiration, Wellbeing and Place priorities.

The Mayor added: “One of the key principles of the masterplan is for our town centre to be a place where people want to live.

“This will increase footfall for retailers as well as improve the appearance of the centre, and these, in turn, should act as a catalyst for external investment.”

The firm winning the competition will progress the design for planning permission – subject to approval by the Full Council of the business case expected in January 2024.

If approved, a planning application could be submitted in the same month and if that is approved, demolition work could start around October 2024 and building work in February 2025.

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