This week the Transport Secretary visited Mansfield, following in the recent footsteps of the Prime Minister, the Home Secretary, the Education Secretary, the Minister for Homelessness and the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport who have all been up to see us since the summer.
We’re getting our voice heard in Government, both raising issues in Westminster and bringing officials up here to see for themselves, and Chris Grayling came this week to talk about the key local transport links that could unlock our local economy.
We visited a number of sites and talked about a lot of opportunities for road and rail.
When it comes to the Robin Hood Line rail connection there are a few changes that could make a big difference. The contract to run East Midlands Trains is up for renewal and I’ve asked the Secretary of State to ensure that the successful bidder has to look at a more regular service on the existing line to Nottingham, and also consider extending the route out from Warsop across to industrial sites for jobs and tourism in Sherwood Forest.
Chris was quite ready to admit that the East Midlands has had comp-aratively low levels of funding for projects like this and we need to make sure we get our fair share so that residents, commuters, businesses and tourists see Mansfield as a great pace to be. We have some really positive opportunities particularly with plans coming forward for a number of major hotels that can help us make the most of our local assets. We’re within just a few minutes of Sherwood Forest, Thoresby Hall, Center Parcs, Sherwood Pines, Wheelgate Park, White Post Farm and all sorts of other attractions, and all of that could be bringing cash in to Mansfield’s economy, but right now that cash is going elsewhere instead.
If you do an online search for a weekend away in Sherwood Forest, you don’t really get shown an option to stay in Mansfield, even though we are the closest town.
I’m doing everything I can to make sure both national and local Government are aware of these opportunities, and that they are working together to bring some of it forward. Mansfield deserves it.