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Saturday, 8 May 2021

Mansfield: Details of £25m town centre transformation bid revealed

Mansfield is in line to receive up to £25m from the Town Deal fund, a £3.6 billion scheme to help 101 towns across the country.

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Mansfield District Council has submitted its £25m bid to the government’s Future High Streets Fund.

The final draft of the major regeneration cash bid was supported by consultants ARUP, after the council was granted £150,000 to prepare its submission to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG).

The council had been due to submit its bid by 5 May but the ministry extended the deadline to 5 June to reflect the increased pressure councils across the country have been facing due to the Covid-19 crisis.

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Cllr Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, said: “While we were well on schedule to submit our bid to this fund, having more time has allowed us to refine our submission and make a better case to receive the full amount.”

The proposal was finalised in consultation with and with the full support of council officers, the Mayor and strategic partners. The project represents a major strand in the council’s long term strategic vision for the future development of the town centre.

The final bid focuses on five projects to:

– bring environmentally-friendly living space to the town centre
– re-imagine the Market Place to increase dwell time and provide healthy green space
– improve access links for pedestrians and vehicles
– re-purpose vacant properties
– introduce student accommodation in line with aspirations to become a university town.

Work on building Mansfield’s case for up to £50m from the Future High Streets Fund and Town Deal Fund and has been ongoing throughout the Covid-19 crisis. The Town Deal Fund bid, which encompasses regeneration for the whole of the district, is also well on schedule and due to be submitted to the ministry before the end of the summer.

A Place Board to guide the Town Deal bid was set up earlier this year and had its first meeting in February. Since social distancing measures were put in place, it has continued to meet via video conferencing.

Mansfield is in line to receive up to £25m from the Town Deal fund, a £3.6 billion scheme to help 101 towns across the country, as part of the government’s plan to level up the regions.

The towns eligible for support from the Towns Fund include places with proud industrial and economic heritage but which have not always benefited from economic growth in the same way as more prosperous areas. The fund has a focus on improved transport, broadband connectivity, skills and culture.

The Place Board is made up of more than 25 local influential businesses and partners, including local employer Linney, Mansfield BID (Business Improvement District) and Vision West Nottinghamshire College, the D2N2 LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) and Nottinghamshire County Council.

The board has been drawing up a list of potential projects and last month split up to focus on individual projects looking at:

– The town centre
– Identity and brand
– Health and wellbeing
– Skills and growth
– Transport and connectivity.

These have been informed by a wide and ongoing consultation which has included internal stakeholder events at the council and 112 responses from members of the public via the My Town portal campaign, with Mansfield ranked at 11th for the number of responses in that campaign out of 101 areas of the country bidding for the funding.

Cllr Richardson added: “We had so many suggestions for investment put forward that it would have run into hundreds of millions to fund them all so we have narrowed it down to 33 proposed projects and we will now have to put them in order of priority.

“These projects will now also form an important part of a programme for how Mansfield will recover from the Covid-19 crisis and will look at things like improving the cycling infrastructure of the district, for instance.”

The next step is to decide where projects sit in order of priority and once agreed, the council’s Regeneration team will begin shaping these priority projects into a Town Centre Investment Plan which will be supported by the emerging Town Centre Masterplan, ready for submission to the MHCLG in July or August.