Tuesday 5 March 2024
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Historic Nottinghamshire clocktower development delayed over flood concerns

Major plans to redevelop a historic Nottinghamshire landmark into a retirement village have hit a roadblock over concerns about flooding works.

Developer Jackson Design Associates first brought forward plans for the now-demolished Metal Box factory site, in Rock Valley, Mansfield in 2020.

The developer plans to keep the existing historic clock tower and build around it to create a 77-unit retirement complex for the over-55s.

Production at the Metal Box site ended in 2010, bringing to a close more than a century of industry.

It was originally a mustard mill before being used by Barringer, Wallis & Manners and later The Metal Box Company to create tins for brands including Quality Street.

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Most of the factory was demolished in 2011 apart from the iconic clock tower, which still remains in place as a reminder of the site’s historic importance.

Plans to give the 7.6-acre site a new lease of life include creating 44 apartments, four maisonettes and 29 bungalows across the quarry.

The River Maun runs through the land both as a natural river and within below-ground culvert pipes, with the developer planning to make the river an “integral feature” of the scheme.

However, Mansfield District Council has confirmed the plans have hit a stumbling block over concerns about how the river’s culverts could be used or changed.

The Environment Agency (EA) has raised concerns about the project, believing the site could provide “significant benefits” to alleviating wider flooding risks in the town centre.

Flood modelling has been used to study the site and shows it could be used to reduce risks in the town centre by modifying or removing the river pipes.

The EA said: “The two culverted sections of the watercourse cause a bottleneck to flows within the River Maun, which exacerbates flood risk to Mansfield.

“The removal of both culverts would reduce flood risk to Mansfield, including the town centre.

“This would reduce development flood risk constraints upstream of Rock Valley and provides biodiversity enhancements to the area.”

The EA is currently supporting the authority to find potential funding for this work to start.

However, it says this “may not be as quick a turnaround as the developer may have hoped”.

The EA adds it is working with the developer and the authority to find “the best way forward for Rock Valley”.

It said: “We have suggested to MDC that this site should be looked at on a strategic level.

“While this does not necessarily prohibit the development of Rock Valley, it will likely mean the current proposals may need to be amended or phased accordingly in order to realise these benefits.”

A spokesperson for Mansfield District Council confirmed discussions are underway with the EA and the developer to find this resolution.

But the authority describes it as a “complex matter” with “no specific timescales” on when it may conclude.

The spokesperson added: “The council remains committed to discussions with the applicant and the Environment Agency about potential ways the site could be developed.”

When bringing forward the plans in 2020, Jackson Design Associates said: “The River Maun, which runs through the site both in open air and within below-ground culverts, is to be made into an integral feature of the design.

“It is hoped the development will provide a sustainable future for the retirement community at the heart of the town, whilst rejuvenating a landmark site with historical importance.”

The developer has been approached for a comment on the flooding concerns and the ongoing delay.

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