Mansfield is waiting to find out if its £25m bid to the Government’s Towns Fund has been successful. A decision is expected in the new year.
The bid, submitted by Mansfield District Council on behalf of the Making Mansfield Place Board, is part of an ambitious £70m strategy - the Mansfield District Investment Plan.
This comprises 13 priority projects, under five key themes for improvement - town centres, skills and growth, transport and connectivity, health and wellbeing, and identity and brand.
The environment is a key consideration in the projects, which all aspire to have low-carbon solutions in line with Mansfield’s green agenda.
They have been drawn up and agreed by the Place Board, a steering body with representatives from a wide range of partner organisations.
The investment plan includes the creation of 15,000 square metres of new commercial space through repurposing land and disused buildings, and the creation of 2,275 additional further education places over five years.
The 13 priority projects are:
- Mansfield Connect – the creation of a hub for partnership organisations, which would provide office, commercial and education space to increase footfall and spend in the town centre.
- Warsop Heritage Action Zone – improvement of shop fronts through match funding to re-energise the high street.
- Town Centre Student Development - provision of student accommodation in a repurposed building to support a student population in Mansfield.
- Mansfield Skills Development Fund - training and activities to upskill local people and fill skills gaps.
- Mansfield Woodhouse Station Gateway 3 – provision of light industrial workspace to provide 20 new jobs within four business start-up units.
- West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham Trent University Future Tech Skills and Knowledge Exchange – a redevelopment of college’s Chesterfield Road site into a high-tech skills and knowledge transfer facility, to secure high value employment in priority skill areas.
- Connected Mansfield Programme – increased use of technology and digital connectivity to turn Mansfield into a ‘SMART’ town. This includes digital signs to places of interest and bus stops with live timing updates.
- Town access improvements and cycle infrastructure – pedestrian and cycling improvements to promote healthy choices for residents travelling around the district.
- Accessible transport fund – improving access to transport including the relocation of key town centre taxi rank, subsidy of specific bus routes and introducing click and collect model for local businesses.
- Warsop Community Leisure Hub – a new leisure community hub with outreach health support.
- Healthy Mansfield Programme – access to health benefits / active lifestyle programme including creation of a Healthy Mansfield app.
- Destination Mansfield parks and sports facilities – the creation of a destination park by linking Berry Hill Park and King George V Park. This includes refurbishing the athletics track at Berry Hill Park, creating children’s play and woodland walks.
- District-wide branding exercise, cultural and events programme – to draw on local history and links to Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest, host new cultural events and activities to promote a sense of aspiration among residents and support efforts to encourage businesses to invest in Mansfield.
Mike Robinson, Strategic Director for the council, said: “This investment plan represents a major vision for future of Mansfield.
“With climate change high on the agenda and with a need to improve some of the health inequalities that exist in this district, we have tried very much to frame these projects within those contexts.
“Primarily the council wants to transform this district and make it a destination of choice for living, working and learning. We want to provide opportunities to nurture our own talent and encourage that talent to stay, with the prospect of well-paid secure jobs with local employers.
“Making Mansfield a cleaner, greener place that harnesses new technologies and is welcoming for pedestrians and cyclists are also part of those wider Growth, Aspiration, Wellbeing and Place strategies.
“And we have to rethink and revision our town centre to reflect the changes in the way people shop. We want more people living in the centre, so access and getting about the town is an important part of that vision.”
Andrew Cropley, Principal and Chief Executive of West Nottinghamshire College and Chair of the Making Mansfield Place Board, said: "The Future Tech, Skills and Knowledge Exchange will bring 600 or 700 students here daily, which will benefit our town centre.
“It is not just about the skills of today but the skills of tomorrow, making sure that people are able to access high-paid, high-quality, forward looking, secure employment. It’s also about enabling our local businesses to upskill their employees so they can become more productive, embrace new technologies, enter new markets, grow their businesses and offer yet more opportunities to local people."
The Place Board is committed to working with the community on this ambitious programme. The creation of the investment plan was based on consultation with business leaders, partners, education providers and public sector organisations. It also took into account the results of a town centre business survey, stakeholder engagement sessions and public feedback from the #MyTown campaign.
A decision on the Towns Fund is expected in January 2021. Further work will then be done to draw up plans before the final projects are delivered between 2022 and 2026.
In addition to the Towns Fund bid, the district council is awaiting a decision from the Government on a bid of up to £25m from the Future High Streets Fund. The council was recently awarded £1m to kick-start the Towns Fund improvements. This will be spent on greening the town centre and creating urban pocket parks.
Find out more on our Towns Fund page.
Watch our video (opens in new window) featuring key partners including Richard Crisp, Commercial Business Executive at Mansfield Building Society and Deputy Chair of Mansfield Place Board; Nikki Rolls, Chief Executive Officer of Mansfield BID; and Maddy Pritchard, key stakeholder for Vibrant Warsop.