This week, the single biggest issue I have had the most correspondence about has been Berry Hill Park, writes Ben Bradley MP.
After news emerged a few weeks ago about financial difficulties and the possibility of the gates being closed, residents have contacted me in droves trying to find out what is going on.
Whilst I don’t have any direct control over this as an MP, I have made it my business this week to speak to all of the parties involved and to impress upon them all just how important this is to the community.
It’s important to recognise here that there is no single group to blame.
This is a collective failure of all of those involved and is something that has actually been dragging on for several years.
It is only now that things have reached crisis point that the trustees, Mansfield Council and Coal Industry Social Welfare Organisation (CISWO) have felt the pressure to finally find a solution.
There can be no more delay.
Ironically it was just a fortnight ago that I was speaking in Parliament about sports facilities in coalfield areas and flagging CISWO as an organisation that simply must do more to invest in its sites and support coalfield communities.
As a result of that debate Government put aside £8 million for facilities like this, that could be a help in the future if we can secure the short term objective of keeping it open.
I’ve spoken now with all of those parties, the Trustees, CISWO, and the Council, and all have been very clear that they are open to an honest discussion about the council becoming corporate trustees to be able to make the site safe and put a long term plan in place.
Clearly the devil will be in the detail, but they have all given me assurances.
I’ll continue to put pressure on all parties before they meet on November 22 and do whatever I can to ensure that this vital green space is available for local residents to use long in to the future, and to support the new management in securing funding to make improvements going forward. I know how important this is to the community.