TALKING POLTICS: Hotel decision is good news for town

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Martin Wright, of Mansfield Independent Forum on Westminster expenses and a welcome change of mind over a major development in Mansfield...

With the General Election currently scheduled for May 2015 it was, to say the least, disappointing to read that the “Snouts in the trough” mentality is still alive and kicking at Westminster.

The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority reported last week that the total amount claimed by MPs for expenses has now exceeded the £102M that caused the MP’s expenses scandal of 2008-09.

Some 168 parliamentarians listed wives, children and parents on their expenses returns last year, costing the tax payer £4M, yet the majority of MPs still think that they are worth a 9% pay increase after the next General Election.

Good news stories about Mansfield are what I prefer to talk about. Following a public enquiry, the Planning Inspectorate have reversed a decision made by the district council’s Planning Committee and approved planning permission for a hotel and three restaurants to be built on the Mansfield Leisure Park, adjacent to the Odeon Cinema.

When built this complex will provide up to 120 full or part-time opportunities for Mansfield people who want to get into work.

The decision by the Planning Inspectorate was one of applying common sense; the developer already owned the land and stated that they would not build elsewhere in the town, due to the projects financial viability.

It was a case of build it where we can afford to do so or we walk away, unfortunately, that would have meant 120 job opportunities being lost to Mansfield people. The Independent members of the Planning Committee supported the original application but the Labour Group cohort voted solidly against and to refuse planning permission.

The Pleasley Hill development has received approval from the Planning Committee and work will hopefully start later this year.

Some members, including myself, raised issues regarding the design and appearance of the proposed development but a sensible decision, for the good of Mansfield, had to be arrived at and this scheme will deliver much needed affordable housing to the district.

Something not to be missed, Mansfield Museum is hosting The “Clipstone Camp and WW1 in Mansfield” exhibition from Oct 4th to Novemeber 22.

The exhibition has been created by local Forest Town historian Mr Pauline Marples and illustrates the impact that the camp and its 30,000 soldiers had on the greater Mansfield area. Mrs Marples is a member of the Forest Town Heritage Group which works to preserve the history of the local area and its inhabitants and does so by giving presentations to local schools, community groups and by producing publications documenting life in and around the Forest Town area. If you are at all interested in Forest Town and its history why not CLICK HERE to find out more.

What do you think about the hotel plans? To send us your views CLICK HERE