Memorial Garden officially opened in Mansfield

Ribbon cutting of memorial garden

Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams officially opened Mansfield's Memorial Garden on Tuesday 1 August.

The new green space behind the Old Town Hall is a key part of making the town centre greener and an important element of the town centre masterplan.

The centrepiece of the new open space is a 2.4m high obelisk, weighing 1,400kg and carved from Derbyshire gritstone. At the obelisk's base is a circle of Cumbrian green slate with carved words to set the tone for the space. Seating, trees, plants, terraced grass areas and feature lighting surround the sculpture. 

The sculptor who created the piece, Nick Roberson, took inspiration from the tradition of standing stones which have been used as focal points in many cultures across the ages as meeting places where people can gather for spiritual reflection.

Inspirational words, including ‘community’ and ‘kindness', have been engraved around the sculpture's base and within the garden to support the concept of remembrance.

CCTV cameras have also been installed on Queen Street to ensure the garden is used appropriately and to reduce the risk of anti-social behaviour.

Mayor Andy, joined by representatives from partners in the scheme, including EDGEPS Ltd, Via East Midlands Ltd, WSP Safety, sculptor Nick Roberson, Roberson Stone Carvings Ltd, Galliford Try and Severn Trent Water, welcomed the garden's completion.

He said: "This is a wonderful new asset for our town centre where people can take a while to reflect and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of this new green space.

“This, and the other pocket park which has already opened near the Walkden Street car park, are part of our wider vision to make Mansfield greener and more appealing.

"In the town centre, we hope these new attractions will encourage people to linger and enjoy spending time in Mansfield, boosting our local economy.”

The project was recognised recently at the Water Industry Awards in Birmingham last month, which saw Mansfield District Council win the Natural Capital Initiative of the Year.

The contractor for the Memorial Garden was Galliford Try, based in Annesley. It employed 14 people on the project, most local to Mansfield.

Matthew Sutton, Regional Director for Galliford Try’s Environment business, said: “We were proud to play our part in improving the public realm in Mansfield town centre with what is a fantastic, sustainable solution.

“Forward-thinking, collaborative projects such as this are vital for improving our public infrastructure and the environment around us, and we are delighted with what has been achieved here.”

The Memorial Garden also incorporates new rain gardens, or Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SuDS), part of Severn Trent's ambitious scheme to create sustainable ways to alleviate storm pressures on existing sewers.

Its £76m Green Recovery programme in Mansfield is the biggest scheme of its kind in the UK. The idea behind the rain gardens is that they naturally soak up surface water and prevent it from entering and possibly overloading the sewer network.

The SuDS located in the Memorial Garden will collect all the rainwater that lands on the bus station roof, the surrounding highways, and the garden itself. During a downpour, the SuDS can hold over 100,000 litres of rainwater.

The aim is to make the district more resilient in the years to come against the threat of flood at a time of climate change, population growth and urban development.

Adam Boucher from Severn Trent Water added: “We’re delighted at the completion of the memorial garden in Mansfield – it will be a wonderful area to visit in the town centre and a great example of true collaboration.

“Our project will not only see communities more resilient against the increased threat of flooding, but by using nature-based solutions, we’re also improving how the town looks and boosting the biodiversity in the area - making Mansfield a nicer place for people to spend time.

“We’re really excited that those living in Mansfield will soon benefit from Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems, such as the Memorial Garden, and look forward to working with our partners such as Galliford Try, Mansfield District Council, Nottinghamshire County Council to develop a greener, cleaner vision for the town."

The other pocket park on the grassy slope at the Four Seasons Shopping Centre's rear entrance features a slide for youngsters and has been enjoyed by many children since it opened in spring. 

Both gardens have been designed to improve the air quality, water drainage and physical appearance of the town centre. They have been funded by £1m from the Government’s Town’s Fund.

Published: August 1st 2023