Mansfield District Council is spending £400,000 to kick start its multi-million pound project to transform town centres in the area.
The authority was told in March it had been successful in a bid, and outlined its plan in June, describing its six proposed projects as “transformational” to the district.
They include new ‘micro-technology units’ and business space at the new Mansfield Woodhouse Railway Station Gateway, and the launch of a new ‘Destination Mansfield’ branding scheme.
But opposition councillors have called for more clarity, stating they feel “left in the dark” about some of the plans and what return for investment the council will receive.
The council has also opted to push forward with investment into a technology and skills hub at West Nottinghamshire College’s Chesterfield Road site.
This anchor project will deliver new courses in modern technology and offer local businesses links to the college, through a partnership with Nottingham Trent University.
A health hub will also be set up in Warsop, including a swimming pool, fitness suite, hall, cafe and community space, on Carr Lane Park.
And there are also plans for improvements at ‘destination parks’, including Mansfield’s large Berry Hill Park, with potential open-air events planned.
Members of the council voted in favour of allocating £400,000 from reserves to begin setting up full business cases for the plans.
Around £215,000 of this will be spent on staff resources, including hiring a new regeneration manager and a graduate regeneration officer, to work within the council.
Speaking in full council on Tuesday (September 21), Andy Abrahams, Mansfield’s Labour mayor, said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for substantial funding for Mansfield, to invest in Mansfield, and it’s going to be a legacy for whoever carries on running the town.
“It will be for the benefit of all residents, all members in this chamber, for us to get the best team and to get the maximum funding.
“We need to work collaboratively on this, for the benefit of the whole of Mansfield.”
But members of the opposition Mansfield Independents group raised concerns about the way the bid has been put together.
Cllr Andrew Tristram (Mans Ind), who represents Berry Hill, said: “I feel as members we’ve been kept in the dark about what the Towns Fund projects are.
“I’ve had no say in the input and ideas, and I notice we’re creating business cases for the projects. I’m a little surprised we didn’t do that ahead of the bid.
“There’s a lack of detail in this, we don’t know what the overall plan is, and it would probably be useful if we had some information on what the return for investment is going to be.
“Other than that, I want to see anything to improve what we’ve got in the area.”
Mr Abrahams confirmed all six projects are expected to make further progress between September and November.