Pledge to preserve merits of Beales building as council progresses hub plan

Council bosses have pledged to be ‘mindful’ of the architectural merits of a landmark Mansfield building as they plan to redevelop it.

The former Beales building in Mansfield town centre – empty since Beales collapsed in early 2020 – has been highlighted in a new report looking at derelict department stores.

The report by SAVE Britain’s Heritage, a ‘charity campaigning to rescue glorious old buildings’ has highlighted some of ‘Britain’s beautiful department store buildings which, thanks to the pandemic and rise of online shopping, are at a crisis point’.

Departing Stores – Emporia at Risk ‘documents some of the country’s finest examples, the threats they face – and what can be done to rescue and reinvent them for the 21st Century’.

The art deco frontage of the former Beales building on Queen Street, Mansfield town centre.

It highlighted the former Beales building – built in 1938 for the Mansfield & Sutton Co-operative Society – as one previously ‘at risk’, but now set for a brighter future.

The report said: “Mansfield has few buildings of art deco character, but this is one of the finest.

“Hope for the building’s future has emerged after Mansfield Council purchased the site in early 2022, with intentions to use it as its new headquarters.”

Marcus Binney, SAVE Britain’s Heritage executive president, says: “All over Britain, there are handsome department stores built on proud corner sites or set prominently on high streets, all destinations in themselves.

Andy Abrahams, Mansfield mayor, outside the former Beales store.

“Yet a decade of online shopping and Covid have brought an avalanche of closures. A race is now on to put life back into them. It’s a tough challenge, but there is hope too.”

The Twentieth Century Society, which campaigns for landmark buildings, also recognises the Beales building, particularly its Queen Street frontage, as one of Mansfield’s ‘primary landmark buildings, of great local significance’.

Read More

Read More
Man, 47, injured after car and a motrocyclist were in collision in Mansfield

Civic hub

And the council has pledged to respect those architectural merits as it looks to transform the building, which boasts 158,940 sq feet of accommodation across five floors, into a new civic hub.

Michael Robinson, council interim co-chief executive officer, said: “We are mindful of the historic and architectural merits of parts of this important and sizeable town centre asset.

“These all being factored into our plans for the creation of Mansfield Connect, a multi-use hub.

“Following the announcement of round two of the Levelling Up Fund, the council continues to work with key local stakeholders to develop bold and ambitious plans for the hub.

“Consultants are supporting the bid by exploring the occupancy and capacity of the building and cost of potential options, as well as future operating models.

“As well as improving the delivery of public services by providing a range of agencies accessible under one roof, it is envisaged the new hub would generate extra footfall in the town centre.

“This would benefit existing retailers and help drive regeneration, with the hub being a catalyst to stimulate private sector investment in both the day and night time economy in the town centre.

“The multi-million pound bid is due to be submitted by July 6.”