The contest to become Mansfield’s next mayor is underway after candidates for the role were confirmed by Mansfield District Council.
Five people are vying for the votes of residents across Mansfield, Mansfield Woodhouse and Warsop.
Voters will return to the polls on Thursday, May 4, electing the next mayor alongside 36 new district councillors to represent them until 2027.
Ladybrook-born Andy Abrahams (Lab) won the mayoral poll at the last election in 2019 after unseating former mayor Kate Allsop (Mans Ind).
The Labour candidate was elected in dramatic circumstances after several recounts saw him win by just two votes.
The voting system has been changed to the standard first-past-the-post system for this year’s poll, meaning voters will only put a cross in one person’s box instead of choosing a preferred candidate and a second-favourite.
Mr Abrahams was the third person to be elected as Mansfield’s mayor after its inception in 2003, with Tony Egginton (Mans Ind) being the area’s first 20 years ago.
With less than four weeks until voters return to polling stations, all five candidates have set out why they think residents should lend them their votes.
The candidates explained why they are the right person to take on the role and ultimately lead the district for the next four years below:
Andy Abrahams, Labour
“When elected, I promised a fresh start after inheriting a right mess left by the Mansfield Independents.
“This included no local or town centre plan, a policy of investing outside Mansfield – including a disastrous London property purchase – and a financial mess with a multi-million-pound gap.
“Berry Hill cliff face collapsed, Berry Hill Park and Meden Sports Centre closed and there was record homelessness.
“Since being elected, we have supported our communities and businesses, frozen council tax, attracted £150m of inward investment and stopped all spending out of Mansfield.
“The new £9.7m Warsop Health Hub will be built, the Harriers are back at Berry Hill Park, we’ve reduced homelessness by 75 per cent, we’re building affordable council homes and I’ve donated more than £30,000 to dozens of community projects.
“I pledge to care for and protect our communities, regenerate our town and district, and invest in skills and the local economy.”
Mick Barton, Mansfield Independents
“I am Mansfield born and bred and worked at two local pits until they closed and then set up my own local business.
“I have been a Mansfield Independents councillor for 20 years, serving across various committees and been deputy mayor, chairman and a cabinet member.
“Crucially, I have far greater experience than the other candidates, which will be invaluable in delivering the People’s Manifesto.
“Hundreds of people across Mansfield and Warsop have contributed since last July via monthly Zoom meetings, social media contacts, e-mails and phone calls, as well as meeting with me.
“Collectively, they have helped produce the People’s Manifesto, a manifesto by the people, for the people. Truly your manifesto.
“I’m someone you can trust, who will deliver my pledges, someone who will always put people before petty party politics, someone who is neither left nor right, but will always put Mansfield and Warsop first and foremost.”
Andre Camilleri, Conservatives
“I’m a local man, who was born, educated, and has worked and owned businesses here.
“As an experienced councillor too, I’m well-placed to deal with the serious issues facing our district today.
“Unfortunately, neither Labour nor the Mansfield Independents have been capable of driving the council forward.
“Both played a part in wasting over £25m of taxpayers’ money on properties in London and Edinburgh. Now is definitely time to try something different.
“If elected I will change things, recommitting the council to tackling anti-social behaviour, sorting out local housing for council tenants instead of spending money on properties in London, and ensuring the £100m+ we’ve secured for town centre projects is well-spent.
“I’ll work with partners instead of playing political games. I’ll also give residents a vote to decide if they would prefer to ditch the mayor role altogether, as I believe we could make better, more-accountable decisions without one.”
Karen Seymour, Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition
“The cost-of-living crisis has hit Mansfield people hard. Living standards are down, while big business profits have rocketed.
“Government cuts have devastated our services, but the council meekly passed these on. Council tax, rent and charges have been ratcheted up.
“We need to build hundreds of new, good-quality council homes; a decent future for young people; apprenticeships and secure jobs with trade union pay; warm community centres providing cheap meals and support in every area; reverse all privatisation; protect green spaces.
“I would refuse to implement any more cuts in Mansfield. The council has reserves and borrowing powers that could be used while building a massive campaign to get our money back from the Government.
“A socialist mayor, backed by socialist councillors, could rebuild our services.
“The mayoral system centralises too much power in one person. I would campaign for its abolition, while only taking an average Mansfield worker’s wage.”
Julie Tasker-Love-Birks, Independent
“It’s time for each person to realise the power each of us has. Stop the corporate approach to life.
“We need to reinvigorate our town centres and neighbourhoods, support local independent businesses and community facilities through minimising red tape including minimal, if any, business rates.
“Our roads and pathways have deteriorated. Yet contacting the council, you’re told there’s nothing they can do as it’s Nottinghamshire County Council’s responsibility.
“Surely, we could have Mansfield District Council ensuring roads and paths are monitored, informing the county council when they aren’t safe, ideally before any safety issues arise?
“We need the many empty buildings to have good shops and facilities for local people to access without having to travel to more centralised ‘shopping centres’.
“We need to celebrate our significant history, including enabling conservation buildings to have appropriate historic graphics on shop window screening.
“Conservation isn’t desolation. Strong communities support people to thrive.”