Friday 14 June 2024
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Work to start on restoration of important Grade II listed building

Work to restore an important architectural jewel in Mansfield’s crown is set to commence as part of a scheme backed by The National Lottery Heritage Fund and overseen by Mansfield District Council.

Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project, which is managed by the council’s Regeneration team, aims to help property owners in the town centre renovate rundown buildings in a way that is sympathetic to their historic and architectural attributes by offering grants towards the work.

The Brunts Charity is set to begin a £530,000 six-month programme of renovation thanks to the Townscape Heritage project at The Brunts Chambers buildings in Leeming Street and Toothill Lane, comprising seven retail units and offices.

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The work will restore the building and individual units to their original character, involving the renovation or replacement of existing shopfronts, alongside external refurbishment of the front façade of the building. The scheme was awarded a Heritage Fund grant of £306,624 towards the works, with The Brunts Charity funding the remaining costs.

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The renovation will be done using materials and repair methods in keeping with the Grade II listed building, which was erected by the trustees of charity on the site of the home of Rowland Dand, the grandfather of Samuel Brunts, who set up the charity in 1711 and whose statue can be seen on the front of the building.

Paul Williams, Chief Executive of the charity, which provides over 150 Almshouse properties in Mansfield, said: “The Brunts Charity is so pleased to receive this grant from The National Lottery Heritage Fund, through Mansfield District Council.  As custodians of this wonderful charity, trustees and staff cannot wait to see this historical building restored back to its former glory.

“The building is in a key location in Mansfield and we hope the works will have a positive effect on this part of Mansfield town centre, whilst securing the longevity of the building for years to come.”

Dawn Undy, Chair of the charity, added: “Our founder, Samuel Brunts, left his estate to people in need within Mansfield and district 313 years ago and today, guardians of the charity – our trustees and staff – are testament to his vision to ensure his legacy continues to serve and support our community.”

Cllr Stuart Richardson, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth, said: “We are delighted to see work starting soon on this major restoration of The Brunts Charity building.

“Mansfield town centre has many architectural gems but over the years they may have lost a bit of their gleam. The townscape project aims to make them shine again and we would urge owners to take advantage of this short window of opportunity to invest in restoring these buildings with the help of some very generous grants on offer.”

Grants of up to 70% of eligible conservation works are available to certain properties on Leeming Street, the Market Place and part of Stockwell Gate. The project was due to have ended this year but because the pandemic interrupted the scheme, it has been extended to December 2025.

The council is now encouraging eligible property owners to get in touch as soon as possible to ensure they can take advantage of the grants on offer.

As well as improvements to privately owned buildings, the scheme has also involved a few facelifts to the public realm in the town centre, such as the Bentinck Memorial being cleaned in 2019.

Another important element of the project is to encourage local people to gain a greater understanding of the historic environment surrounding them through a programme of hands-on heritage focused activities, events and training opportunities.

These have included a children’s art competition and students from Brunts Academy, supported by a local artist, creating a colourful mural on the theme of Mansfield Past, Present and Future on the ground floor of the former Boots and Dickie Dirts shops in Leeming Street. More details of a proposed extension to the community engagement programme will be announced in due course.

The Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project is thanks to £849,000 from players of the National Lottery whose lottery ticket purchases support The National Lottery Heritage Fund. The council has also pledged £75,000 towards the project and Nottinghamshire County Council has put forward £45,000.

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