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Lottery funding success for Mansfield restoration project

A bid by Mansfield District Council for nearly £850,000 of Heritage Lottery Fund grants for improving key period buildings in parts of the town centre has been successful.

The Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project, which focuses on parts of Leeming Street and the Market Place conservation area, will benefit from £849,100 of money raised by National Lottery players.

The project aims to help local businesses and property owners in this area carry out property repairs and refurbishments to enhance the architectural quality of the Victorian and Georgian buildings.

The council-led project, to be delivered in collaboration with Vision West Notts College, Mansfield BID, Mansfield Museum and Nottinghamshire County Council, will provide a five-year programme of conservation, community engagement, and educational events. 

There will be work experience opportunities for students and volunteers to learn about conservation and restoration skills as well as opportunities to be involved in film, story-telling, street theatre, art and photography activities, celebrating efforts to return one of Mansfield's most elegant shopping streets to its former glory.

Property owners, meanwhile, will be able to apply for match-funded grants of up to 75% to help with the cost of making improvements, which are in sympathy with their heritage. 

Cllr Dave Saunders, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth at Mansfield District Council, said: "This is great news for Mansfield town centre, our businesses and residents. Thank you to the Heritage Lottery Fund for this vital funding and our partners Mansfield BID, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottinghamshire County Council, who worked with us to create the successful bid.

"The conservation area around Mansfield Market Place contains some of our most unique and historic buildings. This Townscape Heritage project will preserve the character and use of these important architectural assets for future generations and improve the appearance and vitality of the town centre, which is part of our long-term vision.

"There will be plenty of opportunities for local residents to get involved, for example, by taking advantage of future training sessions to develop their skills in conservation and restoration." 

The project is part of a wider vision by the council to improve the appearance and vibrancy of the town centre and to put Mansfield on the map as a good place in which to live, work, invest and visit. 

Other strands to this vision include redeveloping the Old Town Hall and moving forward with plans to build a hotel on the site of the old bus station. It is hoped these will attract an increased variety of shops, cafes, restaurants and bars, as well as more customers, jobs and an overall boost to the local economy.

The long-term strategy is to try to help Mansfield meet the challenges of the changing face of the high streets - a phenomenon happening across Britain - by encouraging more independent retailers and making the centre as much a place for socialising, entertainment and living in, as it is a place for shopping. 

The council already provides business start-up, growth and shop front improvement grants, to help reduce vacancy rates and encourage more independent retailers to the town and works with BID partners to provide support for established businesses to grow.

If your property is within the Mansfield Market Place Conservation Area and you would like to see if it can benefit from the Mansfield Townscape Heritage Project or would like to find out how you can get involved, contact the Matt Wright, Regeneration Project Officer in the Ashfield and Mansfield Regeneration Service by emailing WrightM@Mansfield.gov.uk or calling 01623 463176 or visit www.mansfield.gov.uk/townscapeheritage for more information.