Developers still game for Arcade

HOPES have been rekindled that Mansfield’s historic Handley Arcade could soon be transformed as part of a wider regeneration project.

The plans, which include 71 flats and up to four new shops off Toothill Lane, have not progressed since 2007 because of the economic downturn.

But after returning to Mansfield District Council for a planning extension last week, bosses behind the project insist it will soon be moving forward.

Robert Fletcher, from planning consultants Ian Baseley’s Associates, said the previous planning permission had come at the wrong time.

“It was just when the banking crisis took place followed by the downturn,” he said.

“Things are by no means easy now but it is a little better in the commercial and housing areas of the economy.

“Members of the planning committee supported it last time and understand why it did not take place.

“The developers will now be looking to attract finance or find other partners to get involved, move it forward and make it happen.”

The extension gives developers another three years to make progress with the proposals, which would see new flats and shops built on the existing public and private car park next to Handley Arcade.

Access to the development would be off Toothill Lane via the existing private road next to the railway embankment.

And planning committee members also extended separate listed building consent for developers to carry out refurbishment work on several Grade II Listed buildings next to the arcade on Toothill Lane and Leeming Street.

Planning officer Simon Dutfield said in a report: “Handley Arcade is in desperate need of regeneration; it is extremely dark and does not invite people to walk down it.

“The buildings which wrap around the corner of Toothill Lane and Leeming Street are extremely prominent and contribute to the character and appearance of the area; however they too are in need of revitalisation.”

Work inside Handley Arcade will include new signs, flooring, ceiling with spotlights, stained glass features and repainting of shop fronts.

Externally, there will be timber work on the roof and re-tiling.

Martyn Saxton, Mansfield District Council’s head of planning, community safety and regulatory services, said: “It’s really encouraging that private developers can see the tremendous potential of Mansfield town centre and want to invest in it.

“The plans for Handley Arcade represent a comprehensive proposal for this part of the town, to revitalise and rejuvenate an area which is in need of regeneration.

“It brings with it many benefits to the immediate area and wider town centre, including improvements to the look of Handley Arcade and retail experience, the revitalisation of adjacent listed buildings and the provision of public car parking.”