Keep up to date with what the Executive Mayor of Mansfield, Andy Abrahams, is focusing on.
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Mansfield is ready to take off
On a grey Monday morning last week at the NTU Mansfield Campus, I declared during the launch of the Make it in Mansfield strategy from the Place Board that after decades of under-investment, Mansfield district and the surrounding areas were on the cusp of a renaissance.
Mansfield was ready to take off toward a positive future where everyone can make it in life. Understandably, the historical underinvestment in Mansfield has made communities and local businesses sceptical and have some negative views about our town. We will not hide away from these negative perceptions, which include over 50 percent do not believe Mansfield is a good place to take your career forward.
People want better shops, entertainment, and leisure facilities. People are proud of our history, but more than 50 percent want change. Now is the time to sweep these negative perceptions away. Mansfield is already showing the blueprint for a town centre regeneration by putting people and services back into the town centre with the £20m Levelling Up Mansfield Connect project and the £16m White Hart Street housing development. These projects will breathe a new life, putting people and services back in the heart of our town centre.
We have shown you can Make it in Mansfield for business, as Mansfield was identified as one of the most entrepreneurial towns in England for small business startups. We are Making it in Mansfield with respect to the green agenda. The Severn Trent Flood Alleviation Scheme and Urban Greening have never been done anywhere else on this scale in the UK, and we are leading in retrofitting local homes.
We are Making it in Mansfield for entertainment with our Film Festival, One Fest, and the 72 events we put on this year with partners that has stimulated the local economy; it has given our residents something to enjoy. We have the £20m Levelling Up Partnership investment, which will help continue the redevelopment of our town centre and our communities that have been left behind. We have another £20m over the next ten years as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns funding and potentially billions of pounds of investment in the East Midlands as part of Devolution.
Last week, we started the £7m redevelopment on the Bellamy estate, which will see 22 high-quality, affordable homes built to be rented to families on the council’s housing list, built around the newly installed village green area.
The council’s in-house architects have designed the homes in line with the government’s carbon reduction targets to the Future Home Standards, resulting in vastly reduced energy bills, saving residents money. This project will revitalise the estate by constructing a new single-storey parade of retail outlets with a convenience store, café and takeaway, a community orchard, a new traffic calm through road and improved bus connections. The project will support new employment and supply chain opportunities for young people and businesses in line with the council’s procurement policy, which means earning and keeping money within the local economy.
Partnership working is what we do best in Mansfield through public sector and business contributions to the Place Board, Mansfield health partnership, Mansfield CVS, Vision West Nottinghamshire College and Nottingham Trent University, and Mansfield BID.
We will build a confident, ambitious district with the right skills for the future, well-paid jobs, and a vibrant economy with healthy and active communities. This won’t happen overnight; it's time to be bold. Our partners and the public are essential to this journey, so let’s get out there and spread the word that Mansfield is the place where everyone can make it in life!
20 November 2023
Mansfield is not alone struggling to balance the finances
Insufficient government funding for more than a decade, combined with high service demand and rising costs, have put finances on a knife edge for almost all local authorities across the country, irrespective of their political colour. Research information published by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), the public finance experts, warned that councils across the UK will face a £3.6 billion funding gap next year. That could rise to around £7.6 billion by 2026 if there is no further funding support from the government.
We will be lobbying, along with district and county council networks, to request the government to commit to their fair funding review, which has been promised for years now but has never been delivered. The ask for the government is to boost spending power by 9 percent as they did for the 2023/2024 settlement and increase local housing allowance in the autumn statement on 22 November to prevent a surge in homelessness.
It is a legal requirement for the council to set a balanced budget each year. We have been reviewing every aspect of our service delivery in detail since July to make efficiencies and identify possible savings and over 400 of our residents have responded to our budget consultation.
The budget proposals will be published in a report that will go to the council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 9 November for a robust independent challenge and review. I want to reassure everyone that we have a viable, sensible plan and are doing everything in our power to protect services and deliver for Mansfield residents.
Despite these financial challenges, we have received some fantastic news regarding investment and funding opportunities for Mansfield. We have been working closely with the government on potential schemes that meet the criteria to gain an additional £20 million as part of the Levelling Up Partnership.
On top of this, we are one of 55 towns selected for the government’s Long-Term Plan for Town’s scheme. This scheme could bring in an additional £20 million over the next decade to regenerate the high street, support more town centre housing, tackle anti-social behaviour and stimulate private investment. Our town centre masterplan is being recognised as aligning with government priorities, which is why we are being successful in attracting funding.
However, residents need to be aware that this funding is ring-fenced, which means it cannot be used to help us balance our budget or be used towards our day to day running costs.
Fingers crossed that the government follow through on their promises. Mansfield is on the tipping point of a major revival that will improve the life opportunities for all our residents district-wide.
25 October 2023