Covid memorial garden plan for Mansfield

A monument in honour of all those affected by COVID-19 will be the focal point of a new memorial garden in Mansfield.

The terraced garden behind the Old Town Hall is one of two pocket parks planned for the town centre.

The other involves plans to install a slide for youngsters on an existing green space, on the corner of Walkden Street and Quaker Way.

Boulders could form the steps up one side of the slide on the grassy slope, which links the rear entrance of the Four Seasons Shopping Centre to the Stockwell Gateway site, where work is underway to build a hotel and leisure development. The project will create an improved area for children to let off steam in the town centre. 

The new parks are part of an urban greening initiative by Mansfield District Council made possible by £1m of Towns Fund accelerated funding. This is in addition to the £12.3m from the Towns Fund that will benefit six projects across the district.

The urban greening scheme, with VIA East Midlands and Edge as the lead designers, aims to create attractive, environmentally-friendly spaces where visitors and residents can relax and enjoy the town centre. It will also address broader council objectives to promote healthy lifestyles and well-being, together with reducing pollution and congestion.

The proposed memorial garden on the site of the car park on Queen Street will feature grassed terraces cascading down towards the town hall with seats, trees and plants.

The monument would serve as a COVID-19 tribute to those affected by illness and loss and as a thank-you to the many key workers who have been a lifeline to the local community since early 2020.

While details are still to be agreed, the current proposal is for it to feature a large piece of engraved stone in keeping with the grade II* listed town hall. There are also plans to install uplighting for the monument and new trees.

Shrubs and perennials are planned for the top terrace adjoining Queen Street. The trees and plants will contribute to reducing urban heat gain, improve air quality and water drainage and enhance feelings of wellbeing and positive mental health.

Executive Mayor Andy Abrahams said: "The garden will be somewhere for people to relax and reflect as they go about their business in the town centre.

"It will also provide an attractive pedestrian connection between the bus station and the Market Place.

"What we want to achieve with this urban greening project is a greater sense of calm and enjoyment for visitors to encourage them to linger.

"Along with the plans featured in the Town Centre masterplan, Mansfield is going to look and feel more attractive in the years ahead, which we hope will increase the number of visitors and encourage economic renewal and investment."

Planning applications have been submitted and subject to approval, it is hoped that work will start before Christmas.

The pocket parks are just a small part of ambitious plans to transform Mansfield town centre over the next 15 years as set out in a 100-page draft masterplan unveiled last month.

The masterplan aims to guide new development while preserving the town’s industrial heritage.

Working with partners and private developers and investors, the council aims to create a mixed-use town centre that would transform Mansfield into a vibrant place where greater numbers of people want to spend time and money. There would be more food and drink, workspace, employment, cultural, leisure and educational uses as well as quality housing and a strong independent retail scene.

The draft masterplan will be presented to the Full Council in December, ahead of its planned adoption in the new year and supports work on the current Towns Fund Investment Plan and the preparation of future funding submissions to the government's Levelling Up Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

You can read more about the masterplan in our newsroom.

Published: October 4th 2021