Warsop Commission: a driving force to take the parish forward or a talking shop with a wishlist?

The results of the Mayoral Commission for Warsop - one of the driving forces behind a bid to regenerate the parish has been published.

Will this be a driving force to revitalise the area or is it just a talking shop with a wishlist?

As well as urging more support for the area the report urges the community to pull itself up by its bootstraps.

We take a look at the key points of the commission and asked the people of Warsop what they think.

What is the Warsop Commission?

The Warsop Commission was established In June 2017 by Mansfield Mayor Kate Allsop in a bid to provide a catalyst for new homes, jobs, shops and community facilities in the area.

It was proposed after a public meeting angry residents voiced concerns about the area being neglected and the planned closure of the Meden Sports Centre.

It brought together community leaders, Warsop Parish Council Mansfield MP Ben Bradley and other agencies such as Nottinghamshire County Council, Mansfield District Council and the Clinical Commissioning Group.

The commission discussed topics such as housing, roads, leisure , health bus services and economic growth.

Its recommendations include a long-term plan for housing in the parish including the need for affordable housing; recruiting medical staff to meet the needs of the community; extending the Robin Hood Line to better connect the north of the district with Edwinstowe and the provision of a community bus service to improve mobility.

It speaks of a need to inspire the young people of Warsop, a concerted effort to aggressively promote the parish and attract investment along with the redevelopment of the Meden Sports Centre and provision of outdoor activities.

The report also emphasises the need for the Warsop community to work together to bring about significant changes and calls on leadership from within the community.

This week Mayor Kate Allsop said: “I very much welcome the report of the Warsop Commission and would like to thank Robin Wilson for his efforts as chairman.

“The report gives emphasis to much needed areas of work to be considered by all stakeholders from across the public sector.

“These issues can only be addressed if we all work together, holistically, to achieve a shared vision.”

Robin Wilson, chairman of the Warsop Commission said; “Not only do the local authorities need to intervene but the Warsop community must want to succeed and be determined to regenerate itself. The community needs to produce leaders from within the parish to drive progress forward and the authorities need to listen to them.”

What powers does it have?

The commission was endowed with no powers and has no right to demand improvement or changes, nor that more funding be allocated to Warsop.

The idea is to bring together views from a cross section of the community about what needs to be done to improve the prosperity of the parish rather than what outside bodies consider would be beneficial to them.

What does it conclude?

The report says Warsop’s fortunes will only improve if and when there is growth in both residences and businesses. The population has declined and new businesses have not sprung up to replace the coal industry.

But before new housing developments can be approved the complete infrastructure must be poised to be put in place such as additional medical facilities additional school places, better access to major roads and increased retail facilities. Once new housing developments are approved the parish becomes more viable for a supermarket chain.

It adds: ”Warsop lies at the most northerly part of the District, and many may often feel,with some justification, that, because it is far from the administrative, social and cultural hubs, it is forgotten and (even worse) neglected when opportunities for progress are handed out.

““This will continue for so long as Warsop does nothing about it, the voices of its representatives fail to be loud enough to be heard, or those who hear are unwilling to listen to what they say.

The Commission noted with disappointment that several activities had terminated or reduced because there are insufficient voluntary leaders and helpers to support them.

It adds: “What is needed is a willingness to devote some of one’s own leisure time for the benefit of the community.”

Some of the Commission’s key recommendations.

Employment

Any empty commercial sites and premises owned by MDC should be marketed at concessionary rates such as rent free initial periods.

Mansfield District Council should consider buying sites in the Parish that come onto the market that can be leased to new businesses, as part of its investment policy for its funds.

The district council should be asked to endorse a “Buy Local” policy in this respect. Although this may not be at such advantageous rates as can be obtained from investments made elsewhere, MDC should take a positive attitude to such

investments as part of its role in facilitating the regeneration of the Parish.

Housing recommendations

Any payment made by a developer to buy out the obligation that 25 per cent of any new development in the Parish should be affordable homes, should be spent by MDC on the construction of affordable homes solely elsewhere within the Parish.

Brownfield sites in Market Warsop and Meden Vale, the Bingo Hall and the old school site in Warsop Vale should be put in the Local Plan.

Applications to build a possible 600 new homes are likely to be received by 2020.

Health

at least one additional GP should be recruited and that the alternative treatment practices involving other trained professionals should be introduced into all the GP practices.

All ages should be encouraged to attend classes and other meetings to learn how to reduce obesity, smoking, excessive drinking and all other unhealthy activities, and to undertake exercise.

The existing youth club on Wood Lane, where some 60 children currently attend once a week, should be extended by being opened more frequently.

The Meden Sports Centre should be maintained until a suitable replacement is provided. This should include the gym equipment which MDC has promised to retain for as long as the MSC remains open.

When all the information is available concerning Warsop Parish Council’s proposal for a new leisure centre,The district and county councils should urgently review those proposals, its viability and funding requirements, and ways in which other partners can be involved and support it. These three councils should meet Pulse Fitness to consider ways in which a business plan can be devised, and to find a way forward to ensure continued leisure provision.

Transport

Speed enforcement measures should be introduced on the A60 for traffic travelling south from Cuckney Hill, and should extend as far as the Fire Station. This would improve safety generally, especially at certain junctions and other access points onto the A60 (Carrs carpark,A60/Eastlands Lane junction).

At the entry to the 30mph area at the Bishops Walk/Carter Lane junction. 1.3 on the A60 travelling south beyond the junction with Vale Avenue: either speed cameras to enforce the 40mph limit, or the limit should be reduced

to 30mph.

On Netherfield Lane, Meden Vale, where a double fatality occurred in September 2017 the 30mph speed limit should be extended so that it starts before Gleadthorpe Cottage.

More parking spaces are required in the centre of Market Warsop. Research shows that more than 80 per cent of the available spaces are filled by those who work in the town centre, leaving insufficient spaces for visitors and shoppers.

The Parish Council is urged to enter into negotiations with the trustees of the trust which owns The Shed to secure an agreement that the car park be made available to park cars for the whole working day,

Public transport

Stagecoach should be encouraged to introduce any additional bus services that re possible, by whatever innovative means possible.

Lobbying by the local MPs for Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood for the extension of the Robin Hood Line should be actively supported by both businesses and residents

Greater use otf the community bus would benefit the community. BigWarsop has, as requested by the Commission, undertaken a survey of residents to determine who wants to use it, and for what purpose, and who would be prepared to

organise and manage its use, and to enlist driver volunteers.

Leisure

The district council parks department should work to bring its Green Flag parks in the parish up to the same standard as those in other parts of the district and that more facilities are provided for age groups older than the very young.

To reduce anti social behaviour and disturbance to local residents, the skate park should be relocated to a position in Carr Lane Park that is away from residential development;

A multi-use exercise facility should be provided and the football pitches should be properly maintained and made available for use.

Police and community safety

Areas and buildings that have been demolished or are empty and/or derelict should be cleared of all rubble and rubbish, and re-developed. This will remove the temptation for those intent on anti-social; behaviour, and improve the appearance and usefulness of the area.

The Police should continue to attend the language classes for ethnic groups, so that their integration may continue.

BigWarsop and WPC should promote the introduction of Neighbourhood Watch Schemes throughout the Parish.

The Police should increase the use by PCSOs of hand-held speed cameras.

We asked residents and shoppers in Warsop what they thought of the commission plans.

Susan Robinson 56, of Warsop said:”It’s talking about stuff but not much action. The affordable housing needs to be affordable not executive housing they are intending to build. At a time where we are talking about preventative health the sports centre needs to be looked at and more money invested into it.”

Kenneth Wright 91, said: “There ‘s long waiting lists for appointments sometimes weeks. I don’t see the point in extending the Robin Hood line it wouldn’t get much use.”

Ron Palmer 74 of Warsop: “It definitely needs a supermarket as the Coop is a monopoly we need an Aldi or a Tesco. I disagree that there need s to be more housing and I disagree there needs to be more medical staff. The Robin Hood line is a good idea - we need the infrastructure.”

Ken Blackband 82, of Mansfield Woodhouse:

“It’s alright this housing but they’re taking a tremendous amount of land up.

The Lindhurst development (in Mansfield ) they have sold 500 properties - they must have sold them to contractors who will milk it when it comes to selling them. What is affordable housing? it depends on people’s finances.

I agree with the Robin Hood line extension and everyone needs more medical services but it’s where the finance is coming from. They want to redevelop the sports centre but have stopped funding the baths. They culd do with a supermarket but the Coop has objected in the past. The Coop has no competition. Spencers were going years and years they closed down when Boyes came.”

Christopher Hufton 38, of Warsop.

“I’m the chairman of Wellbeck FC. In terms of the leisure centre, it would be good to have a new gym if they could drop the prices, otherwise not enough people would use it.

“We want more sports for kids we want a 4G pitch for this area there are so many football teams and facilities for all. We we have to go to Shirebrook with six teams

“As far as Robin hood line goes it will help - we try and use the train as much as possible.”