Councillor calls for Mansfield mayor's to resign 'before she does anymore damage'
Councillor Lee Anderson called for mayor Kate Allsop's resignation, just four months before she is up for re-election, after comments made about a proposed free parking scheme.
At the full council meeting, on January 23, councillor Kevin Brown asked the mayor about the council’s plans to bid for some of the Government’s £675m Future High Streets Fund (FHSF) and specifically what ideas had been presented to the Council by Ben Bradley MP, about the town centre.
Mayor Kate Allsop confirmed that suggestions made by the local MP included two hours free parking for shoppers in Mansfield Town Centre.
She said: "I can confirm he has suggested that MDC funds free car parking for two hours.
"If we were to do that, people who live outside the district in Newark, Ravenshead and Chesterfield, and indeed, anywhere outside of Mansfield would have their parking paid by Mansfield residents and the council would lose income. This lost income would have to be found from somewhere, possibly from an increase in council tax. We don't own all the car parks we run, and there is a cost to running them."
However, Coun Anderson, who is standing for the rival conservative party in the forthcoming council elections, called her statement 'madness', and called for Ms Allsop to resign 'before she does anymore damage'.
Coun Anderson said: "At a time when Mansfield's Town centre shops and businesses are in need of a boost you would think the executive mayor would be pulling out all the stops to do her very best to bring people back into our town.
"Words fail me. Imagine people from all over the county and beyond coming into our town because of free parking to spend money on our goods and services at a time when there are dozens of empty shops and local traders need the extra business?
"What makes this statement more annoying is the fact that Central Government has now made a £675m High Street Grant Fund available for Councils to bid for projects just like this.
"This madness must stop.
"Our town is desperate for help and the one person who has executive powers to make the right decisions has decided that we do not want "outsiders" parking free in our town, whilst in other areas like Ashfield and Gedling the introduction of free parking has made a real difference.
"In the best interests of the people of Mansfield the mayor should now step down with immediate effect before she does anymore damage.
"It is quite clear to us all that she does not have the best interests of Mansfield at heart.
"I would rather not have a mayor in the interim until the election, as her comments have made me wonder if we need a mayor at all.
"Mansfield's economy is in a state, and it can't afford for any more comments like this to be made.
"What next? Do we build a wall around Mansfield to stop anyone coming in?
"Please mayor do the decent thing and step down whilst we still have a town centre."