Ben Bradley Column: We can change town centre to play a role in bright future
In recent weeks, more plans have been made available for people to see what is proposed to change and improve our town centre.
On top of our £17m Towns Fund money and the £17m private sector investment at the old bus station, we’re also bidding for Levelling Up money from Government for the new town centre masterplan.
I’ve enjoyed supporting the work as part of the Advisory Board and I am pleased that the council has presented such an ambitious plan which sets out a 15-year vision to transform and rejuvenate the town centre.
The plan is to make the town centre a better place to work and live, including green spaces on the marketplace and a town park on Toothill Lane.
It brings forward the council’s ambitions to move its headquarters in to the town centre and into the former Beales store.
It hopes to bring more visitors on to the high street, with more focus on leisure, food and drink and attractions.
There are areas earmarked for redevelopment, for student accommodation plus an indoor market where BHS was.
Government funding through the Levelling Up Fund can really transform the town centre and it shows that the Government is committed to levelling up areas such as Mansfield.
I have been pushing for this since being elected and we must make sure we use any funding wisely, understanding that town centres are not what they once were; they need to change.
I think moving the council resources into the centre, making it easier for people to go and use the services and bringing more people in to town is such an important move.
We need to use these big empty shops and repurpose them into something that can benefit everyone, plus more footfall, more people coming in, can only benefit retailers.
The report is to go out to public consultation around mid-October and will last six weeks with the formal adoption of the plan early 2022.
I really hope everyone will take their time to look at the plans and respond to the publication, so as many people’s voices can be heard as possible.
The town centre has changed and we need to look to the future about how we use it, making the most of the beautiful architecture and history, but changing it to suit what we need for the future.
I am glad the Government is providing this opportunity as it will make such a difference to our town.
I think the plans show us just how much potential there is to really develop the town centre in to a great place to live, work and play.