Keep up to date with what the Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, is focusing on.
Latest blog post
Mansfield stands ready to help Ukrainian Refugees
We’re all looking on in disbelief as the biggest humanitarian crisis since the end of the Second World War unfolds in Ukraine. It is estimated that there will be over 5 million families and children displaced, fleeing the horrors of war.
I am proud of how our local communities have already stepped up. The young people of All Saints’ Catholic Academy collected more than 300 bags of donated clothes, blankets, sleeping bags, toiletries, nappies, baby milk and medical supplies.
I want to reassure you that we stand ready to do all we can to provide practical support as soon as details of the Government’s sponsorship scheme are provided.
In the meantime, we are keeping busy and focusing on our priorities to regenerate Mansfield with our philosophy of green, clean and healthy.
Full Council recently agreed to allocate £1.5m towards a new Health Hub for Warsop. This will enable us to move ahead with our plans to provide improved leisure facilities to support health and wellbeing activities in Warsop. We have been working hard with Warsop Parish Council, Active Notts and Vibrant Warsop and consulted widely with community groups and residents. The £7.7m project, which will include a 15m x 8m swimming pool, changing village, café, fitness suite, a multipurpose divisible hall and new multi-use games area on the site at Carr Lane Park, will be supported by £3m from the Towns Fund and a bid of up to £1.5m from Sports England. Borrowing of up to £3.5m will be needed depending on the level of funding secured from Sport England.
In other good news, three Mansfield leisure centres will benefit from £2m of improvements. We have awarded a 10-year contract to Serco that implements £333,000 of carbon reducing and energy saving measures, which will save 420,000kg of carbon dioxide each year to help us meet our Climate Emergency targets.
Exciting planned improvements include new interactive water features at Water Meadows along with a fun wall climbing zone, party room and a refurbished gym. At Oak Tree there will be a new outdoor 3G sports pitch, a shape master toning suite, an inflatable wipe out arena obstacle course for children to enjoy in the school holidays, along with a refresh of gym equipment and a community hub.
A new £50k active communities program, in conjunction with Mansfield Health Partnership, will provide innovative activities at community venues to encourage more people to improve their health and wellbeing.
Nottingham-based Switch Up will soon be taking over the day-to-day operation of the River Maun Recreation Centre. Switch Up supports children and young people to reach their full potential through mentoring, education, counselling and physical activity. The hub, which aims to provide a safe and alternative space to learn, will include the creation of a boxing gym and activities to support young people, providing education, training and employment opportunities. MDC - we are more than just a council.
Date: 16 March 2022
Previous blog posts
Helping residents and businesses with the cost of living
Mansfield district councillors are acutely aware of how difficult it is going to be for our residents to get through the looming cost of living crisis, so we have taken various steps to help out. This includes freezing the district portion of council tax, putting in additional funding to strengthen our council tax hardship support scheme for our vulnerable residents and making a 10% cut in the councillors’ special responsibility allowance. We believe we have made the right decisions for our residents at a time when they need our help the most and we are sharing the financial burden to balance a £1.3m deficit in the budget.
Due to the unprecedented rise in inflation, energy prices and national insurance contributions, we have also written to the Leader of the County Council and asked the Police and Crime Commissioner to follow our example and not increase their elements of the council tax bill for Mansfield residents either.
We have invested an extra £30k in our economic stimulus fund which now stands at £100k. This will enable us to assist more businesses within the district. The council has worked hard to encourage new outlets within the town, making grants available to independent traders to take up vacant shop space. Like many towns and cities up and down the country, we have lost some of the big high street names but we have also drawn in retailers you won’t find anywhere else. This includes Toffee Hut on Regent Street and Robins Return in the Old Town Hall. It is outlets like these that make our town centre special – our unique selling point.
The council is also funding six peer-to-peer sessions for retailers in partnership with Mansfield and Ashfield 2020, plus additional one-to-one consultancy advice to help them identify strategies to improve their business.
We are not complacent and we know we are going to have to work hard to encourage people back into the town centre and away from online shopping, especially now that things are starting to return to normal. There have been lots of special events taking place since the weekend to keep families entertained during the February half-term holiday, including walkabout entertainers in the town centre and activities at Four Seasons Shopping Centre, Mansfield Museum and in Mansfield leisure centres. We’ll be releasing information about our programme of events for the rest of the year very soon. There is a lot to look forward to right across the district in the coming months. More information on all upcoming activities and events will be published on our events webpage.
There is something for the whole family to enjoy when visiting Mansfield, so what we need now is for local people to get behind their town, to enjoy what’s on offer and to help its recovery.
Date: 16 February 2022
Exciting plans edge closer to fruition
Despite the setback of the Omicron variant, I am confident that 2022 will be the year you’ll see our efforts to regenerate and stimulate the local economy start to take shape. There are five projects from our successful Towns Fund bid that will have their business cases completed around April. This will provide Government funding to come through to enable detailed design work to start.
The Vision West Notts Technology and Skills project, to be constructed on the Chesterfield Road site close to the town centre, will focus on digital technologies and their application to the growth and sustainability of new and existing local businesses.
At Mansfield Woodhouse Station Gateway, we hope to start constructing 290sqm of modern workspace for light industrial use this summer. We are confident we will keep our election promise to obtain the funding to build a new health hub with swimming pool and gym in the heart of Warsop.
Design work will continue on the Berry Hill destination park, which includes scoping out the potential for a new multi-functional café/events building, disabled toilet facilities, woodland adventure play, a refurbished bandstand for events, biodiversity zones and community orchards. A further round of consultation on proposals will take place soon.
There are numerous housing developments under construction across the district. Phase two at Lindhurst, one of the largest housing projects in the East Midlands, will bring 475 new homes - 170 of these affordable - a new primary school, nursery and a local centre.
We will be starting the Bellamy Road Estate regeneration with the creation of a play area, shops and cycle track before moving on to the construction of affordable, environmentally designed council homes. We’re also completing design work for the Centenary Road development off Chesterfield Road. Several urban greening projects will also be completed in the town centre as well as the Arba hotel and hospitality development on the old bus station site.
We’ve purchased the former Beales site as a location for a new multi-agency civic hub called Mansfield Connect. It will be the council’s HQ and is expected to house a variety of other public, educational, enterprise and health and wellbeing services, alongside spaces for private sector occupants such as food and drink outlets. The business case will be ready to bid for up to £20m from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund in late spring.
Finally, sustainable flood resilience work will start in Ravensdale shortly, providing permeable paving, rain gardens and street planters that will improve the green landscape.
It is going to be a very busy year!
Date: 19 January 2022
What a Year for Team Mansfield!
How can one reflect on the year we have just had? Unprecedented in most of our lifetimes…the loss of loved ones, the courage and self-sacrifice of our NHS, carers and essential workers who kept going regardless of the risk to themselves. Not forgetting the resilience and support of our communities, voluntary services and businesses to stick together to come out the other side.
I am proud of the achievements of our council workers adapting to how they carried out their jobs, working in bubbles, re-training to do whatever task was required of them to ensure continuity of all our services and dealing with the challenges of remote working.
We have promoted every initiative to get our residents vaccinated to stay safe emerging from lockdown. We have organised the vaccination bus to visit local areas of lower vaccine uptake, provided vaccination centres, testing sites and promoted continuous positive messaging through our community champions.
The council has supported businesses throughout the pandemic, distributing £30m of support grants, provided COVID-19 marshals and ambassadors to offer advice and also support from the Environmental Health, Licensing and Town Centre teams to ensure businesses have got back on their feet.
We are more than just a council doing everything we can to help get life back to as normal as possible. The additional services we deliver for our residents speak for themselves: the Palace Theatre and Museum, which returned with a full autumn programme of plays, music and our famous pantomime, the summer and winter festivals and the Full Shebang.
They have reintroduced education in schools delivering 34 workshops and providing resilience training to help year 6 children transition to secondary school.
We have pushed forward with our climate emergency agenda, designed affordable homes to Future Homes Standard, improved insulation of our old properties with the aim of tackling fuel poverty and reducing carbon emissions, brought more community allotments back into use and introduced glass recycling.
Our fantastic Housing team has dramatically reduced the number of rough sleepers and done everything it could to prevent residents being evicted from their homes by offering support and help on debt and rent arrears, relationship breakdowns and domestic abuse.
Our magnificent Parks team has achieved seven coveted Green Flag Awards again and we can’t forget our brilliant refuse collectors who have had the most challenging time with staff shortages.
The council, which spends £40m a year on works, goods and services, has introduced a new procurement strategy with the aim of regenerating the local economy by its residents earning and spending money in the area.
We will not be deterred in our commitment to make Mansfield a prosperous, healthy and happy place to live, so stay safe and have a happy and restful Christmas.
Date: 20 December 2021
We’re busy, busy, as Christmas approaches
This year we have a series of community-focused events to look forward to rather than the Christmas light switch on event, which usually attracts a very large crowd to the Market Place. This will help to keep Mansfield’s residents safe while COVID-19 infection rates remain high.
We have still got lots of festive fun planned. There will be a free family winter festival in Titchfield Park, as well as entertainment, live music, and Christmas market chalets in the town centre. A giant inflatable snow globe where people can take free selfies with Santa and elves will tour neighbourhoods including Pleasley, Warsop, Oak Tree, Ladybrook and Bellamy estate. We want to encourage everyone to come to Mansfield district, support our local businesses and have a good experience but stay safe. The annual Remembrance Parade through the town centre on Sunday was well supported and a perfect example of people being sociable but respectful and courteous at the same time.
If you are able, please help us support local families by donating to our Secret Santa gift appeal. For full details of this and Christmas events, visit our Christmas webpage.
Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year because it is awards season. Last week’s Chad Awards was an opportunity to admire and celebrate the entrepreneurial and community spirit, resilience, creativity and excellent talent in Mansfield and Ashfield. It was a truly humbling and inspiring experience.
I would like to thank everyone who has so far expressed their ideas as part of the ongoing consultation on the town centre masterplan. Consultation events are taking place across the district. There’s one today at Forest Town Methodist Church and one tomorrow outside Mansfield Library on West Gate. Have your say before 5pm on 23 December. For more information, visit our planning consultation webpage.
The effects of COVID-19 on our finances continue to be a challenge as the government only refunds us 75% of our lost income so balancing the budget hasn’t got any easier. We have been working with all of the districts plus the city and county councils to try to get more funding and devolved powers through a county deal so we can continue our ambitious plans to regenerate the town centre and the surrounding district.
Hopefully the council will receive £2.94m from the Towns Fund to improve existing facilities and create new attractions to make Berry Hill Park our first destination park. Please give your feedback and ideas on our Berry Hill Park survey webpage.
Lastly, panto is back at Mansfield Palace Theatre and tickets are selling fast. Be quick so you don’t miss out!
Date: 17 November 2021
Mansfield is Green for Go
Mansfield’s town centre masterplan has been unveiled and it has now gone out to the public for consultation. The masterplan sets out our vision for the town centre over the next 15 years and I hope it will fulfil my pledge to regenerate the town centre creating a green and family-friendly environment, making the most of our historic Market Place and preserving the town’s industrial heritage.
Construction work has already started on the old Bus Station site, with a hotel and three food businesses being built. Along with the green landscaping, this will significantly enhance the appearance of this major gateway into the town and along Stockwell Gate.
The town centre masterplan looks at potential options for each quarter of the town as well as specific buildings including the Town Mill, Beales and the Four Seasons Shopping Centre with a view to redeveloping brownfield sites and bringing more homes to the town centre. Our aim is to build a residential development to the 2025 Future Homes Standard with homes that would be energy efficient, reducing residents’ fuel bills to a minimum and providing more environmentally-friendly greenery and open spaces.
Mansfield has already taken its first steps to becoming a University town, Vision West Nottinghamshire College, in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, are offering degree courses to our young people. Working with partners, private developers and investors we hope to create a mixed use town centre with more food and drink, work space, employment, cultural, leisure and educational uses that will increase the number of visitors.
With online shopping being the final nail in the coffin for the big department stores, we are also looking at options to move council, health and employment services back into the town centre. We also aspire to make this a place for business innovation hubs, town centre working accommodation and entertainment.
Of course this will not be achieved overnight but with the masterplan endorsed by the Place Board, made up of representatives of Mansfield’s public and private influencers, we will be submitting our proposals for £20 million of funding once the Government announces the date for the second round of the Levelling Up funding.
Mansfield is bouncing back after the pandemic with help from business start-up grants, new entrepreneurs are sprouting up all over the district and as confidence returns I am convinced these public/private initiatives will increase the life opportunities and prosperity of our residents.
Date: 18 October 2021
We don’t want to be top of Covid charts
For weeks Mansfield has been listed as one of the most infectious places in England for COVID-19, with further coronavirus-related admissions to King’s Mill Hospital along with, sadly, more deaths.
Despite having all-day ‘no appointment needed’ vaccination centres at the hospital and the old Wickes site on Chesterfield Road, and bringing the vaccination bus to hard-to-reach communities, more than one third of adults under 30 in Mansfield have yet to have their first coronavirus jab.
With infection rates expected to rise as children head back to school, I fear for this area’s residents unless we all play our part. The advice is simple: get vaccinated. We should also all continue to wash our hands regularly and wear a mask when inside public places.
Many have endured terrible times during this pandemic, but there have been positives. We’re particularly proud of how we’ve cut the number of people living on the streets. Through various initiatives, including securing government funding for our First Steps project, we reduced the number of street homeless from 22 in 2019, to just two earlier this year.
This fantastic humanitarian work is far from over. Together with our wonderful volunteer organisations, who operate collectively under our new Homeless Charter, we’ll continue to support remaining rough sleepers, many of whom have multiple complex physical and emotional needs, to help break any cycles of criminality.
Helping our residents feel safe is a priority for us and we’re pleased to have secured £432,000 from the Government’s Safer Streets initiative. This concentrates on four crimes: robbery, vehicle crime, burglary and theft from the person. Among its objectives are to increase patrols by front-line staff in hotspot areas and encourage more Neighbourhood Watch schemes.
We are particularly pleased that this funding will enable the recruitment of an additional youth worker for our district to help tackle anti-social behaviour problems among young people. There has been a 50% cut in youth services over the past five years so this investment in Switch Up - a mentoring service for young people and their families – is very welcome.
Did you know the Local Government Boundary Commission for England is asking for views on changes to district council wards in Mansfield? It wants to know if the proposed changes reflect local communities. The consultation closes on 8 November. Find out more on the LGBCE's website (opens in new window).
Also, don’t forget our fabulous Palace Theatre has reopened and can’t wait to welcome you back. See what’s on the theatre's website (opens in new window).
Finally, Recycling Week starts on 20 September so remember to reduce, reuse and recycle to help make Mansfield greener and cleaner.
Date: 15 September 2021
Climate Emergency – we all have to do our bit
It seems not a day goes by without some devastating climatic disaster appearing in the news. Last week’s UN Report stated ‘it is unequivocal and indisputable that humans are warming the planet – this is code red for humanity’.
Since I was elected in May 2019, we have reviewed almost every service the council undertakes with a green focus - from light bulbs to tools and equipment to housing design. It isn’t financially viable to change everything we would want to at once but we continue to back up words with actions.
The Government is not due to implement Future Homes Standard as a requirement in the building regulations until 2025 but we have taken the decision to be an early adopter when building affordable council homes. This will see homes producing 75%-85% less carbon dioxide emissions than ones built to the current regulations.
We are also building a small number of houses to the even higher Passivhaus standard. These buildings are airtight, have very high levels of insulation, extremely high performance windows with insulated frames and a mechanical air flow ventilation system with highly efficient heat recovery. These measures reduce the heat loss so much that the homes barely need any heating at all. Passive heat sources like the sun, human occupants and household appliances cover a large part of the heating demand, which means super low energy bills for residents.
We have successfully applied for the Government’s Green Homes Grant to upgrade some of our council properties. This investment in older housing stock will cumulatively have a more beneficial effect on reducing our carbon footprint per pound than building new homes to the new environmental standards. Additionally it will also help the residents of those homes by reducing energy bills.
Following our investment in purchasing the additional refuse vehicle and 50,000 new wheelie bins to introduce glass recycling in our district, we are investigating the resources required for waste food collection.
Between the 20 and 26 September the council is lighting up the Town Hall in green in support of Recycle Week. We all need to do our bit with our own recycling at home. It only takes a little more effort but the collective action of us all will make the difference in the long run. So let’s all do our bit for a green, clean and healthy Mansfield. Find out what you can recycle on our recycling page.
I’m looking forward to raising a flag to support the county council in marking the first ever Nottinghamshire Day on Wednesday 25 August. You can get involved by sharing photos which show off our part of the county at its best. It could be a beautiful landscape, a portrait of a local character or a shot of wildlife captured within the district. Please post your pictures on our Facebook page (opens in new window) or email them to email@example.com.
Date: 18 August 2021
Doing the right thing
As we have learnt throughout the pandemic, the choices we make individually and collectively make a difference to our health and quality of life.
Alongside our hard earned freedoms we all need to continue behaving responsibly and doing the right thing to overcome the increasing infection rate and protect our NHS.
When I was elected my guiding principles were also governed by doing the right thing. This included policies to address Mansfield’s poor health outcomes, reduce homelessness, support voluntary organisations, build more affordable council homes, invest in Mansfield and adopt measures to tackle the Climate Emergency.
The 18-month Covid crisis has placed great demands on the council’s resources and made maintaining the high standards of service delivery to our residents challenging.
However, at the last Full Council I was pleased to announce that we would be starting the construction of over 100 affordable homes across three sites before the end of the year. We are proud that these homes have been designed to the Future Homes Standard. They will have higher quality heating systems and insulation, which means they will be energy efficient, have reduced bills and produce 75% less carbon emissions to help the UK meet its Climate Emergency targets.
All of the Council’s activities are being reviewed to reduce our carbon footprint wherever practicable. We are also setting the standards for those who want to work with us via our new procurement strategy. It may sound boring but the new strategy aims to keep money in the area by using local contractors and suppliers and upskilling our young people.
The strategy has been put into practice for the construction of four ultra-low energy council homes being built on Saundby Avenue. Local developer Robert Woodhead Ltd will provide local training and employment opportunities, involve schools and local organisations, reduce carbon emissions by planting trees and by recycling a high percentage of construction waste as part of the contract.
It is important to consider the social economic and environmental implications of choosing partners to work with, not only because it is better value for money in the long run but it is the right thing to do.
At June’s Full Council meeting, Members voted in favour of sending a letter to the Government requesting that they accept the conclusions and recommendations of the Government’s own cross party Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee that conducted an inquiry into the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. The report recommended that the Government hands the £1.2bn it is due to receive from the Investment Reserve back to miners not only because it is their money, but because it is the right thing to do.
Date: 21 July 2021