Mansfield and Ashfield businesses upbeat on future

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MANSFIELD and Ashfield companies are positive about the area’s potential but concerned about outsiders’ perceptions of the two districts, according to a new survey.

The questionnaire of small and medium sized enterprises by Fidler & Pepper Solicitors, asked businesses how they feel about the area they are operating in and their hopes and fears going forward.

To conduct the WINNA (What Is North Notts About) project, Fidler and Pepper contacted more than 60 companies.

Although the survey received a mixed response, among the main issues highlighted were a lack of public transport, poor external perceptions and few major employers based within the area.

Mansfield mayor Tony Egginton said the survey was a ‘great piece of work’ which needed to be kept up to date to provide local knowledge.

“If central Government is serious about devolving power and finance this detailed information is key,” he said.

The mixed response to the survey is shown by 56 per cent of those asked saying they were positive about the area, but 52 per cent fearing an outsider’s perception would be mostly negative.

Although 21 per cent of the firms asked said the recession had had a ’very significant’ impact on their business, 24.5 per cent claimed the impact had been ‘minimal’.

When asked about the labour force in the area, a quarter of companies said workers were ‘not motivated enough’ and lacked basic education skills.

Irvin Robinson, chairman of the Mansfield 2020 business and networking group, said: “It has provided a tremendous footprint in terms of how we feel about our area.

“We are hoping to use the findings to build on the regeneration of the area, not just physically but to change views and opinions.”

John Dowson, head of policy at Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, said: “These figures provide a good snapshot of the current business climate in north Nottinghamshire and together with the chamber’s own quarterly economic survey will help to benchmark local business issues with those in neighbouring areas.”

After the findings had been collected, Fidler and Pepper hosted a seminar attended by more than 40 of the area’s business leaders.

The seminar discussed ways of moving forward to promote the more positive aspects of the districts, including the tourism and leisure potential of the Robin Hood legend.

Mark Slade, managing partner at Fidler and Pepper, said he was proud the company had launched the survey.

“We hope that the results of the survey can help to shape the future of the North Nottinghamshire business community,” he added.