Five things we learned this week in Mansfield

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From schoolchildren preparing for a terrorist attack, to Mansfield being rated as one of the poorest towns in the country, here’s what has been making the headlines this week:

1. A new survey has revealed that Mansfield has been named as one of the poorest towns in Britain when it comes to wages and welfare.

According to Think tank, Centre for Cities, which measures economic performances, the town has the fourth lowest average pay and high levels of people using the welfare state.

It was found that Mansfield has average weekly wages of £414, well below Britain’s average of £504.

The study was carried out in response to Chancellor George Osborne’s summer budget last year, when he said the Government’s focus was to provide a high-wage, low-welfare economy.

Alexandra Jones, chief executive of Centre for Cities, said: “It highlights the size of the challenge facing the Government and the importance of supporting and empowering UK cities in order to make that vision a reality.”

2. A couple who have run a popular social club in Mansfield for more than 23 years have called last orders for the final time.

Jeff and Jenny Booth bid a tearful farewell to life behind the bar at their club, Boothy’s on West Hill Drive, with a party on Saturday evening.

The dedicated pair, who are 70 and 69-years-old respectively, decided it was time to retire following health problems for Jeff.

A tearful Jenny said: “It’s heart-wrenching and we’ll really miss all the people. It’s been really hard work but everyone has been lovely over the years.”

3. Most of Mansfield and parts of Ashfield are among huge new areas licenced for fracking by the Government.

Just before Parliament broke up for Christmas the Government released new licenses covering huge areas of Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Yorkshire which could see oil and gas companies look to explore and extract shale gas and coal bed methane.

The licenses have been granted to global petrochemical manufacturer INEOS in the final part of UK Government’s 14th licensing round.

This week campaigners vowed to hit the plans head on, calling on residents to organise and demand answers to their concerns.

Gregg Hewitt of the Frack Free Nottinghamshire campaign group said: “Too much evidence suggests more research needs to be done.

“Residents are concerned about non stop noise pollution, the effect on drinking water and seismic activity.”

4. Children at an Ashfield primary school are being prepared for a terror attack with a practice classroom lockdown every term.

The lockdown drills take place three times a year at Leamington Primary Academy, Sutton, to make sure pupils and staff are prepared for emergency situations.

A school spokesman said: “Pupil safety is a priority.

“In line with other schools across the country, we have a lockdown procedure as part of our safeguarding policies.”

5. Applicants hoping to build homes in Mansfield claim the council’s housing policies are “out-of-date” as they push for planning permission.

A planning application has been submitted to Mansfield District Council seeking permission to build 39 homes on a former paddock off High Oakham Hill.

In a statement prepared on behalf of the applicants Carl Chadwick and John Plant, they point to previous applications rejected by the council, but overturned on appeal.

These include 130 homes at Park Hall Farm and homes north of Skegby Lane.

Their statement reads: “The council is unable to demonstrate a five-year supply of deliverable housing sites and the anticipated rate of delivery over the next five years is unrealistic.

“The majority of relevant policies in the development plan are out-of-date. The land is in dual ownership, with both parties keen to deliver the development.

“It will provide a modest increase in the population that will ultimately lead to an increase in spending power in the local area.”