Market plans had a ‘lack of consultation’ says councillor

Mansfield Market Place.
Mansfield Market Place.

A lack of consultation has led to the controversial Mansfield market plans being called in for closer scrutiny, a leading councillor has said.

The £100,000 overhaul of the market - which includes reducing it to five days a week and removing stalls from Westgate - is to be put under the microscope by a committee at Mansfield District Council at a meeting next Wednesday.

The group, known as Select Commission 2, is made up of councillors who will look at whether the plans are relevant, efficient and cost effective.

It comes after six Labour councillors raised concerns over the plans that were put together by Mansfield Independent Forum’s Councillor Stewart Rickersey, and recently given the go-ahead.

They have already come under fire from Mansfield MP Alan Meale and market traders, many of whom are unhappy moving from Westgate which they regard as the most lucrative site.

They also raised objections that only 717 responses from a total of 4,426 collected in during the consultation, were used.

Coun Rickersey said they were overlooked because the survey was biased and were presented to the public as a ‘save our market’ campaign when there was no intention of closing the market.

Leader of the Mansfield Labour Group, Councillor Sonya Ward said: “The consultation held about the market had over 4,000 responses. Over 80 per cent of people wanted the market to stay open six days a week, and to keep the popular Westgate stalls.

“Some of the traders are very concerned, many of them have traded on Mansfield market for decades, and their views and experience really matter.

“The views of shoppers are key as well, and should be listened to.

“Any changes to the market should be carefully considered to ensure they are in the town’s best interests.

“While we certainly agree that things could be improved, we fear the proposed changes could actually make things worse. Our market is a key part of the town’s heritage and identity and whilst we must move forwards.”

“We think that all options should be considered, and that the evidence Coun Rickersey based his decision on should be scrutinised.”