ONLINE POLL: New hope for eyesore brewery site in Mansfield

NMAC11-2227-2.jpg'Mansfield Brewery Site
NMAC11-2227-2.jpg'Mansfield Brewery Site

NEW plans have been revealed which could help finally bring development and jobs to one of Mansfield’s most notorious eyesores.

Mansfield District Council is developing fresh business ideas to help the owners breathe life into the site of the former Mansfield Brewery.

The authority is throwing further weight into regenerating it after it emerged the current owners, administrators from accountants KPMG, are trying to sell it for around £3m, a price officers fear is a ‘significant barrier’.

Officials at the council now hope a new business plan and evaluation will help the authority turn dreams of development and employment into a reality.

Research has even indicated Mansfield District Council could be best off buying the site itself to bring progress forward.

And Chad understands there is also new firm private sector interest.

Said Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton: “We are trying to cover all angles and take this thing forward.

“We want to develop a bigger brief and get people interested in it.

“We don’t want another General Hospital site.”

Officers want Kate Allsop, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, to approve a £30,000 spend tomorrow on assessing the site and valuing it.

Doing so will help the council both speed up any private development and help it make decisions if it does decide to buy it itself, say officers.

If approved, the money will be used to undertake technical work through consultants and could be complete within two to three weeks.

Said Marc Hollingworth, a regeneration officer at the authority: “In terms of the area the brewery was not only a substantial local employer, it was of national pride to Mansfield.

“The idea is to encourage something which gets as many jobs as possible and quality jobs.”

As many as 1,000 local jobs were lost through the demise and eventual closure of the brewery in 2001 after 146 years of brewing.

After it shut the site was bought by property firm Lexi Holdings but the company collapsed into administration in 2006 and it was repossessed by Barclays bank.

Its buildings were demolished in 2008 after becoming a magnet for vandalism and arson.

Accountants KPMG are administering the site, with Barclays among the creditors.

Cautioned Mr Hollingworth: “I can understand why it can be an emotive site but it’s also important to look at it in the bigger picture.

“This site alone won’t regenerate Mansfield but is part of a layer of key sites.”

His report to coun Allsop says it is ‘strategically crucial’ to the area and says the marketing of the site for £3m is “believed to be significantly above market value and represents a significant barrier to productive development and is evident in the lack of progress in the site over the past three to four years”.

Council research has also indicated the most effective course of action would be “for Mansfield District Council to make a direct intervention in this failing market (to directly purchase the site) to ensure it returns to productive use within the next two years.”

Said KPMG spokesman Alison Anderson: “Working with their agent, the administrators have been marketing the land for sale and have received some interest.

“We have an ongoing dialogue with the council about progressing the sale.”

On the asking price of the site she added: “Price expectations are discussed with interested parties.”

Local people said development of any kind would be welcome.

“I don’t think it really matters what goes there; anything is better than nothing,” said John Upal, who runs Littleworth News, Littleworth.

“We need something there because it would help the local economy and regenerate the area.”

Added Lucia Mugridge, who lives on Littleworth: “Anything would be welcome because it’s an eyesore.

“We could probably do with something which includes a youth centre because then we’d have somewhere for teenagers to go.”