COLUMN: Mansfield needs investment and regeneration to thrive, by Coun Sonya Ward

Opinion
Opinion

Recently, more than 200 people turned out on a cold February evening to attend a public meeting about the future of Meden Baths.

This, and the 2,400 petition signatures we collected in the Save Meden Baths campaign, is testament to how important Meden Baths are to local people.

When we were out with the petition, we heard so many stories about the importance of the local baths and sports centre.

It is valued by all sections of the community, from older people who use the centre regularly, adults who learned to swim there, then have seen their children do the same, to teenagers who regularly go swimming with their friends after school.

Local authorities are suffering massive cuts from the Conservative government, and we all recognise that times are tight. But the fact is, some neighbouring local authorities are building new facilities, and the people of Warsop deserve decent leisure and swimming facilities just as much as the people of Mansfield and Woodhouse.

Levels of poor health are greater in Warsop than in Mansfield as a whole, and in some areas more than 70 per cent of older people do not have a car, so local facilities really do matter.

Mansfield and district as a whole desperately needs investment and regeneration. Without this it is likely to decline rather than improve.

The very fact that the council chooses to invest in properties in Edinburgh, Gorton in Manchester, Clapham and even Doncaster; rather than Mansfield and district is a sad reflection on the current state of the area, after 15 years of Mansfield Independent Forum being in charge, in my view.

Whilst I don’t dispute that investing in properties in these areas brings much needed money into the council, it speaks volumes about the state of our district that properties in these locations are all more attractive propositions for investment than properties in our local area.

Investment in Mansfield and district is vital if we are to thrive in the future and we hope that this is taken into consideration when the decision is finally made about the future of Meden Baths.