Martin Lee guest columnn: Grant will be great news for housing in Mansfield

NEWS: News.
NEWS: News.

Some good news for Mansfield and Labour’s agenda to see more affordable housing development in the district. Due to the hard work of officers the Council will receive a grant of £636,000 from the Homes and Communities Agency to kick start council house building at Brownlow Road and Pye Avenue. This means the Council can move quickly to the construction stage, drawing on its own resources to finance these schemes. We can look forward to seeing new homes for the many waiting for housing in our district and future income into the Council in rent and council tax.

It has been difficult to keep the Mayor and his Cabinet on the right path to a sustainable plan for house building. We prevented them abandoning plans for housing at Flint Avenue in Forest Town and forced their hand to acquire the General Hospital site. Housing is top of my priorities for the district and I am looking forward to playing a full role, along with other Labour councillors, as a director of the Housing Company that the Council has set up to bring forward housing development. The Council has land at its disposal throughout the district that has been left lying idle for far too long. The Company’s plan is to build homes for rent or sale and plough back the profits to bring about further building. This will result in affordable homes, jobs for the construction industry and revenue into the Council. Moving forward, the Labour message for Mansfield is clear - jobs and homes. It is what we need for this generation and the next. A place where people have the chance to achieve, now and in the future.

Much attention, quite rightly, is paid to rescuing Mansfield Town Centre from years of decline. I’ve consistently argued for policies to promote our market; take steps to encourage businesses to rent empty shops; convert other disused shops into residential accommodation and support our very good independent shopkeepers and café owners.

We must not forget at the same time that there are some very important shopping areas away from the town centre that need our support to continue to provide vital services to all our communities. I’m really pleased to see an initiative at Ladybrook Square coming to fruition. Local councillors Sharron Adey, Terry Clay and Stuart Richardson have been working with shopkeepers, customers and council officers to improve the facilities at the square. This will culminate in a day of action on Sunday which will see an environmental clean-up by the Council and then a day of painting of the communal areas. People are giving of their own time to restore this much needed but somewhat neglected amenity. Best of all Johnstone Paints have very kindly donated the paint for this project. This is a great advert for a community coming together, led by its councillors and getting the backing of a socially responsible business. It should be a model for other centres needing a facelift to recreate a community to be proud of.