Toy store to bring 60 jobs

The old Comet store on the Portland Retail Park, Mansfield.
The old Comet store on the Portland Retail Park, Mansfield.

A toy shop chain has been given the green light to open in Mansfield, and will bring with it 60 new jobs.

Smyths Toys will take over the old Comet store premises on Portland Retail Park, which has stood empty for four years.

It comes months after a Toys ‘R’ Us store was opened at neighbouring St Peter’s Retail Park.

The decision taken by Mansfield District Council’s planning committee to grant planning permission came despite a letter of objection for the Four Season’s Shopping Centre, who said the council should consider the potential of town centre locations.

There was also a further letter of concern by a developer about granting planning applications outside of the town centre.

Speaking at the meeting at thee Civic Centre, a representative for Smyths Toys said the firm had been looking at Mansfield for ‘number of years’ but needed a retail warehouse to operate.

Because of the bulky nature of the goods they display and store, he said easy-access car parking was also essential such as that found at retail parks.

He said: “It’s difficult to find sites but the vacant space meets these requirements.”

Ten of the 11 Mansfield councillors on the planning committee present voted in favour of the development, with one abstaining.

Councillor Brian Lohan said: “This building has been empty long enough now, we need to be encouraging businesses to take up these spaces.”

This was echoed by Councillor Martin Wright, who said: “All I can say to this is a big ‘hoorah’.

“This is an ideal site, okay, it ‘s not in the middle of Mansfield, but that’s the way it is.

“This has been empty for many years and it could become an eyesore if it is left anymore.”

The company says this would have a “significant positive impact on employment” in the area, providing up to 30 full-time roles, while creating an additional 30 seasonal 

Peveril Securities, which owns the retail park, had applied to change the use of unit 12 to sell toys, children’s sports goods and equipment, bicycles , play equipment, baby equipment and electronic games, so Smyths can open in the unit.