Council set to approve its own 'Meccano' car park plans despite objections

The revised plans for the Walkden Street Car Park
The revised plans for the Walkden Street Car Park

Mansfield District Council is set to approve plans for metal cladding on a town centre car park despite dozens of objections.

Amendments have been made to previously approved plans to replace deteriorating concrete panels on the exterior of the multi-storey car park at Walkden Street with a decorative metal facade.

The plans, which are set to cost 2.4 million,were drawn up after concerns were raised about the safety of the concrete panels.

The plans, which are set to cost 2.4 million,were drawn up after concerns were raised about the safety of the concrete panels.

The plans, which are set to cost £2.4 million, were drawn up after concerns were raised about the safety of the concrete panels.

However, the plans have been revised, and have been recommended for approval at a meeting of the council's planning applications committee on Monday, September 23.

The revised plans would see the existing cladding replaced with perforated aluminium panels which include a geometric design treated with an anodised finish, and coloured purple.

Under previous plans, the cladding was mostly confined to the Stockwell Gate side, and the old Bus Station side of the car park.

The revised plans also propose a new double glazed curtain wall system with a purple aluminium frame - the colour of Mansfield District Council.

The planning department has received 23 objections to the plans, many on the grounds that the design of the cladding is not sympathetic to the three listed buildings in its vicinity - The Old Parsonage and the Old Meeting House on Stockwell Gate, as well as the war memorial in the grounds of the Old Meeting House.

Other objections include: "Cladding on the north elevation will restrict the width of the pathway onto Stockwell Gate making this area darker, encouraging anti-social behaviour.

"Proposal may well encourage birds to nest, including pigeons, causing problems and requiring costly attention.

"This proposed structure is likened to “Meccano” and will become an eyesore without expensive and consistent maintenance, and will not be attractive to locals or visitors.

David Brown, the lead for the trustees of the Grade II listed Unitarian Church at the Old Meeting House Chapel said: "In all ventures, health and safety is paramount, and if there is an issue with the structure this has to be rectified.

"However, the council and those involved in the design of this car park should reflect the historic nature of our side of the car park.

"It should be sympathetic to, and reflect the heritage of the listed structures that surround it."

A representative of Nottinghamshire County Council's Historic Buildings and Archaeology department also commented.

Their statement said: "[We are] concerned that the scheme, which is designed to make a considerable visual statement within the historic core of the town centre, has not been accompanied by a proper and thorough assessment of the impacts on the heritage in the vicinity; and surprised that the celebration of the amazing heritage of Mansfield (that the Unitarian Chapel and Old Parsonage designated heritage assets represent) isn’t at the very top of the local authority’s considerations when developing public realm enhancements."

Historic England also raised concerns in the planning documents, stating: "The key issues we suggest you consider from a heritage perspective are the aesthetic impact upon the significance of the two listed buildings, and their grounds, and the physical performance of the proposed cladding options in close proximity with the Old Parsonage.

"Historic England recommend that that they have some concerns on heritage grounds insofar as the impact of the proposals and detail options upon the adjacent listed buildings appear not to be explored fully in the application documents"