Battle lines have been drawn and wannabe politicians are hitting the streets in the countdown to what is sure to be a hotly-contested mayoral election.
The make-up of Mansfield District Council could drastically change when the full council goes to the polls, with 36 positions for councillors and the mayor set to be decided by the electorate.
Unlike other areas, Mansfield and District also has a directly elected executive mayor, with mayor Kate Allsop’s four-year term coming to an end.
Mansfield District Council has been controlled by the Mansfield Independent Forum since May 2002.
The forum has 16 sitting councillors and the mayor, while Labour has 17, the Conservatives have one, and there are two Mansfield South Independents councillors.
Each council ward is under the First Past The Post voting system, while the Mayor is elected under the Second Ballot system, where the voter decides their first and second choice.
In the election on May 2, five candidates will bid to become your next mayor, and your Chad has spoken to each of them about why they are the person for the job.
Kate Allsop, executive mayor and Mansfield Independent Forum candidate, has been the district’s mayor for four years after her election in 2015.
Speaking on why she should be re-elected, she said: “Like you I am bitterly disappointed with Westminster politicians letting us down, squabbling like children following the referendum to leave Europe.
“There seems no appetite for the MP’s, most who voted to remain, to deliver the will of the people - no wonder we’re unhappy with mainstream political parties.
“This election is about your local services, how they are funded and the consequences of losing 95 per cent of government grant by 2019/2020 because of Conservative austerity.
“I am the only candidate with a proven track record of delivery, keeping Mansfield council’s element of council tax at no increase for nine consecutive years, yet still delivering vital services; we now share many of those to reduce costs.
“It’s only by putting people before politics I can boast four years of achievement, driven by commitment, co-operation, creativity, challenges, communication and a commercial approach to running your council.
“Don’t let MPs’ behaviours stop you having your say on how the district of Mansfield is run.
“Let’s show Westminster they cannot ignore us.”
George Jabbour, the Syria-born Conservative candidate for mayor, has experience in managing public sector finances as well as a background in engineering.
He said: “Mansfield Conservatives have pledged to put more ‘pride’ into our community.
“This includes proper planning – we will implement a new vision for Mansfield, ensure that all new houses are built in the right places, secure the long-term future of our parks and return leisure services to Warsop.
“For roads and transport we will work with Mansfield’s Conservative MP Ben Bradley and the Conservative government to extend the Robin Hood line to Warsop and address the congestion on Nottingham Road.
“We will invest in Mansfield – the current administration of the council has spent tens of millions of pounds outside Mansfield in other parts of the country. We will stop this and invest locally in our town, introduce two hours free parking and support businesses.
“Dealing with drugs and anti-social behaviour, we will appoint additional Neighbourhood Wardens, secure all parks owned by the council to prevent illegal camping and clampdown on fly-tipping.
“We will bring down the allowances and expenses of the mayor and councillors to levels consistent with other districts in Nottinghamshire, saving nearly £1million over a four years.”
Philip Shields, independent mayoral candidate, was brought up in Meden Vale, educated in Mansfield Woodhouse, worked as a police officer and sat in Mansfield District Council’s cabinet between 2011 and 2015 - also standing for mayor four years ago.
He said: “I am standing for mayor in a totally independent capacity.
“My commitments include my cabinet being made up of members chosen by their own political groups and not by me.
“This I believe will help in the decision making process.
“I will oppose any attempt by County Council to dissolve MDC in favour of a single unitary Nottinghamshire authority as this I believe weakens democracy in Mansfield,
“I will introduce a three hour parking permit scheme across council car parks, to help attract more footfall into our town centres.
“I will invest tax payers monies first and foremost within the district. If the Mayor won’t invest in Mansfield who will?
“Being mayor is about making change happen across the whole district of Mansfield for the betterment of the residents, and to support business to make Mansfield a better place to live, work and invest in.”
Councillor Stephen Garner, Mansfield South Independents candidate for mayor, is Mansfield-born, has been a district councillor since 2007 and serves as a county councillor.
He said: “I’m standing because so many people have asked me on the doorsteps to go for the mayor’s spot.
“If I get elected I’m going to look into having a referendum on the role of mayor because so many people tell me we don’t need one.
“I would need 4,000 signatures on a petition to trigger the referendum, which would take place on the same day as Notts County Council elections in 2021, and if it goes through I will quit my job the next day.
“I’ll also look at cutting money from the council itself, such as the executive portfolio holders and backroom staff, because you’ll see public services cut but never cuts to the council itself.
“I’m not just standing for this though, I want better waste collection, free parking in the town from 3pm and to cut back on council wards and streamline the number of candidates.
“We live in the days of funding cuts so the council needs to look at where it can save money from within, rather than cutting services that people use.”
Andy Abrahams, Labour’s candidate for mayor, is from Mansfield and has worked in local government, private industry and education.
He said: “I am a local lad from Ladybrook who has raised and educated his family in Mansfield.
“I have many life skills to offer having worked as a civil engineer on multi-million pound projects such as the channel tunnel rail link, and as a teacher and departmental head in schools.
“Our manifesto is all about giving Mansfield a ‘fresh start’ after 16 years of decline.
“We will invest in our town to keep money in the local economy by using local contractors and suppliers wherever practicable.
”Affordable homes will be built in locations that need regenerating, protecting our green spaces from out of town development.
”We will build our communities by identifying the worst areas of private substandard rented accommodation and make ‘rogue’ landlords accountable.
“We will employ more neighbourhood wardens to tackle drugs and anti-social behaviour, and make Mansfield healthy, green and clean by reinstating sports facilities in Warsop, re-energising our parks and improving our waste and recycling facilities.
”Through a new council apprenticeship scheme, we will work with schools and employers help young people secure real jobs with a future.
“I will be a hard working, committed mayor who will focus on the priorities to improve the lives of residents in Mansfield, Woodhouse and Warsop.”
Below is a full list of candidates for each electoral ward.
Barry Answer - Mansfield Independent Forum
Chris Clarke - Labour
Jamie Hemmings - Conservatives
Zenko Bilas - Independent
Mark Dobb - Labour
Cathryn Fletcher - Conservatives
Andrew Tristram - Mansfield Independent Forum
Lee Browne - Mansfield Independent Forum
Terry Clay - Labour
Anna Ellis - Conservatives
Daniel Hartshorn - UKIP
BULL FARM AND PLEASLEY HILL
Ellen Colley - Mansfield Independent Forum
Peter Holder - UKIP
John Roughton - Conservatives
Sonya Ward - Labour
Marion Bradshaw - Labour
David Fell - Conservatives
Ian Sheppard - Mansfield Independent Forum
Darren Hunt - Labour
Russell Talbot - Conservatives
Stuart Wallace - Mansfield Independent Forum
Sinead Anderson - Conservatives
Paul Bradshaw - Labour
Stewart Rickersey - Mansfield Independent Forum
Alexander Smith - UKIP
Jacob Denness - Labour
Bo Hitchmough - Conservatives
Martin Wright - Mansfield Independent Forum
Steve Bodle - Mansfield Independent Forum
Joyce Bosnjak - Labour
Ricky-Lee Cooke - Conservatives
Ben Birtchall - Mansfield Independent Forum
Shane Draper - Labour
Hazel Webb - Conservatives
Allan Dallman - UKIP
Mark Fretwell - Labour
Gio Loperfido - Mansfield Independent Forum
Kelvin Peters - Conservatives
Kevin Bradley - Conservatives
Denis O’Neill - Mansfield Independent Forum
Sue Swinscoe - Labour
Fiona Burke - Conservatives
Bill Drewett - Mansfield Independent Forum
Adrian Harpham - Labour
Colleen Smith - UKIP
Anne Callaghan - Labour
Robert Elliman - Conservatives
Roger Sutcliffe - Mansfield Independent Forum
Denise Answer - Mansfield Independent Forum
James Ellis - Conservatives
Andy Wetton - Labour
Damian Bennett - Mansfield Independent Forum
Bethan Eddy - Conservatives
Craig Whitby - Labour
Mick Barton - Mansfield Independent Forum
Andy Chambers - Labour
Robert Corden - Conservatives
Debra Barlow - Independent
Lol Brown - Mansfield Independent Forum
Kristyna Ellis - Conservatives
Louise Husband - Labour
Ben Donald - Mansfield Independent Forum
Philip Shields - Independent
Michelle Swordy - Labour
James Thomas - Conservatives
Clare Dobb - Labour
Sid Walker - Mansfield Independent Forum
Jonathan Williams - Conservatives
Steve Gapski - Labour
Tris Glenn - Mansfield Independent Forum
Andy Sissons - Independent
Richard Yates - Conservatives
Lee Anderson - Conservatives
Kev Brown - Mansfield Independent Forum
Martin Lee - Labour
Janis Clarke - Conservatives
Hayley Dallman - Labour
Vaughan Hopewell - Mansfield Independent Forum
Julie Graves - Labour
Lee Palmer - Mansfield Independent Forum
Daniel Redfern - Independent
Katerina Roberts - Conservatives
Victor Bobo - Conservatives
Dean Ellis - Mansfield Independent Forum
Ann Norman - Labour
Charlie Anderson - Conservatives
Adrian Nita - Mansfield Independent Forum
Stuart Richardson - Labour
Foysal Choudhury - Mansfield Independent Forum
Brian Lohan - Labour
Shirley Peters - Conservatives
Shaun Anthony - Mansfield Independent Forum
Ethan Burrell - Conservatives
Steve Garner - Independent
Chris Williams - Labour
Katharine Johnson - Conservatives
John Smart - Labour
Steve Ward - Mansfield Independent Forum
Andy Abrahams - Labour
Andy Rimmer - Liberal Democrats
Helena Sale - Conservatives
Dave Saunders - Mansfield Independent Forum
Teresa Hanstock - Mansfield Independent Forum
Paul Henshaw - Labour
Caroline Tapken - Conservatives
Andy Burgin - Labour
Ben Hollywood - Mansfield Independent Forum
Marc Jones - Conservatives
Amanda Fisher - Labour
Stuart Hickmott - Conservatives
Jayne Riddin - Mansfield Independent Forum
John Coxhead - Labour
Mark Russell - Mansfield Independent Forum
Nicholas Spencer - Conservatives
John Farnath - Conservatives
Sally Higgins - Labour
Paul King - UKIP
David Smith - Mansfield Independent Forum