TALKING POLITICS: Much needed local facility

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Coun Martin Wright of the Mansfield Independent Forum on the loss of a community champion and the arrival of much-needed new care facilities..

Chad deadlines and other personal circumstances have prevented me, until now, from paying my personal tribute to the late Independent Councillor Derek Evans, a friend, a colleague and an excellent councillor.

Derek was a man who said it how he saw it, couldn’t abide excessive bureaucracy and whose watchword was “yes we can” when negatives were put before him.

Along with his beloved wife Christine they made up “Team Evans” in Warsop’s Netherfield Ward, they were always available at whatever time you cared to contact them and constituents could always rely on the appropriate course of action being taken immediately, Derek was a real “Community Champion”.

It’s a measure of a good councillor when their constituents take the time and trouble to write their tributes and letters of condolence as Netherfield Ward people did.

Warsop has lost a very hard working district councillor, parish councillor, school governor and all round good bloke. “Team Evans” will be a hard act to follow.

The Independent members are particularly pleased that the Brownlow Road Extra Care development is scheduled to start this Summer. During my four years as the county councillor for Mansfield East (2009-13) the Mansfield Independent Forum councillors at County Hall worked with Nottinghamshire County Council(NCC) officers to bring an extra care facility, for the over 55s to Mansfield.

The preferred site was to have been on the boundary between Mansfield and Ashfield, comprise of more than a hundred units and shared by residents of both districts.

Alas, no acceptable tenders were received from interested developers and a new site had to be found.

The Brownlow Road site was put forward by Mansfield District Council(MDC) and an agreement between MDC and NCC was arrived at in late 2012, both councils to contribute £3m and £4m respectively with an application for government funding for the remaining 1.3m, MDC owns the land and has already invested £11m in preparation.

Together with Independent colleagues I visited two such complexes, one in Hull and the other in Nottingham, we witnessed the relaxed atmosphere and confidence that elderly residents gain by having help on hand 24/7 and being able to live independently in their own homes.

Congratulations and thanks go to all officers at Mansfield District Council who contributed to bringing a much needed facility to Mansfield.

Congratulations are also in order for the governors, staff and pupils of Heatherley Primary School in Forest Town who are celebrating the school’s 25th anniversary.

I have witnessed, first hand, the effort that the school puts in to providing each and every one of their pupils with the best start possible to their academic lives.

As a former governor of the school, I am proud to have been associated with one of Mansfield’s finest primary schools and wish them well for the next 25 years.

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