The voters of Mansfield will soon decide who runs the district council for the next four years.
In a hotly contested district, voters will also be choosing the next mayor of Mansfield.
The council is currently run by the Mansfield Independent Forum, who say they have turned the fortunes of the council round and the “future is bright” under their leadership.
Labour will be hoping to regain control of the council, and say affordable housing and better parking will be two of their priorities.
Meanwhile the Conservatives, who won the last parliamentary election for Mansfield in what some saw as a surprise gain, say they will invest in more community protection officers, and invest money locally.
In an area which voted to leave the EU by 70.9 percent to 29.1 percent, UKIP will be hoping for a strong performance.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats say they would hold a local referendum on whether Mansfield should have a mayor, and would also prioritise extension of the Robin Hood Line.
The council is currently very closely balanced. Labour have 16 councillors, the Mansfield Independent Forum has 15 (plus the Executive Mayor), and the Mansfield South Independents have two councillors.
Two councillors are unaligned, meaning they are not technically affiliated to a party. There is also one vacancy.
The election will be held between 7am and 10pm on Thursday, May 2, and a result is expected on Friday afternoon.
We’ve spoken to the parties contesting the election about their priorities, and what they feel the main issues are for residents.
Mansfield Independent Forum
The Mansfield Independent Forum has been going strong now for sixteen years; we truly believe in our motto of “people before politics”.
We have led many changes within Mansfield over the years as independents and will continue to be the leading light within local government.
We always try and achieve what the residents ask of us, as we believe that is the only way to best serve our public.
It is a shame that the national politics at the minute is not moving in the same direction, we always put our town first, like they should be putting the country first, but sometimes party politics gets in the way.
We believe that currently there is a lot of apathy surrounding politics, and really hope that residents still come out and vote and use their democratic right to choose.
We have achieved lots of initiatives within Mansfield. When the Mansfield Independent Forum took control of the council in 2003, we were in a very poor financial situation.
Since then we have had a fresh outlook, by running the council more like a business, as we all have business backgrounds, which has worked extremely well.
The future’s looking bright for Mansfield under Mansfield Independent Forum’s leadership.
Mansfield Labour are working hard to win control of Mansfield Labour District Council in May and will put the needs of residents at the forefront of every decision we take. Mansfield Labour want to grow a vibrant, resilient and sustainable district in which residents can safely learn, live and work.
We pledge to invest in the district, not outside and as far as possible buy locally to keep wealth within the area. We would give Mansfield a pay rise by giving preference to local contractors and suppliers who pay a living wage.
It is important to encourage visitors and shoppers to the area. To support this, we would provide two hours free parking, with a £1 all day parking ticket for Stags match days.
We know lack of decent affordable housing is an issue in Mansfield and would increase the supply, as well as providing an additional 150 low-cost houses at affordable rents.
Mansfield Labour want to thank and honour our ex-service personnel and we would nominate a “Veterans Champion”, with an allocated budget and would give greater priority to housing our veterans.
We pledge to improve access to green spaces and services to promote health, by investing in our parks across the district, support community groups to create allotments and ensure that Warsop gets the leisure centre it was promised.
Your vote really does matter. It will decide who runs our council and how much we pay for the services we rely on.
A protest vote will almost certainly see Labour take control, which will result in higher council tax bills and poorer local services, something no one wants to see.
By listening to thousands of residents over the last year, their views have helped us put together a common sense plan to make the improvements we all want to see in our community:
Ensuring future planning developments are built in the right place, with a local plan that puts the people of Mansfield first
Continue to source funding to improve roads and local transport
Invest locally to generate higher returns and provide better services
Make communities safer by funding extra community protection officers
Make savings in the mayoral office to cut costs and improve front-line services
Our local MP Ben Bradley is working with the government and is set to bring millions of pounds of investment to Mansfield.
Only a Conservative mayor and a team of Conservative councillors will spend this money wisely.
Use your vote to help us deliver the improvements we all want to see here in Mansfield by voting Conservative.
UKIP is a true populist party, made up of everyday people not career politicians.
UKIP continues to fight for a complete withdrawal from the EU. UKIP stands for: no more money to be paid to the EU, no more EU laws imposed upon us, and no more open-border EU immigration.
Mass immigration has been extremely damaging to Britain. We have imported cheap labour by the million. This depresses the wages and living standards of those at the bottom end of the economic scale, and drives up property prices and rental costs.
The UK does not have a housing problem – it has a demand problem, with demand being fuelled by mass uncontrolled immigration. We cannot stabilise the housing problem until we have controlled immigration.
The pedestrianisation experiment has failed in these times of online shopping and out-of-town supermarkets and malls. Re-establishing roads and pavements through the town centre, with free one hour parking around the market place and surrounding streets, will bring life back to the town centre.
According to medical journal, the Lancet, 6.5 million immigrants registered with a GP in the last ten years. Non-Britons should require medical insurance unless there is a reciprocal deal with their government.
Liberal Democrats want to see councils work in close co-operation with other public services, the voluntary sector and local people.
We believe in empowering the community, putting local people at the heart of improvements and needs of the area. We would return leisure facilities to Warsop and hold a local referendum on the need for a Mayor.
More homes need to be built in Mansfield District, but it is essential only appropriate sites are allocated for development. Infrastructure must be put in place at the same time as new houses, not years later.
The environment is central to Liberal Democrat policies. We believe in thinking globally and acting locally. In Mansfield we must act to protect and enhance our local environment.
Liberal Democrats have a vision for Mansfield, with a prosperous modern economy and thriving town centres, to reverse the decades of decline. We will encourage the extension of the Robin Hood line to Warsop and on to Sherwood Forest.
We will introduce free parking schemes and free public toilets in the town centres, and support local business. Liberal Democrats demand better for Mansfield. We’ll work for a greener, more prosperous district where quality public services are available for everyone.