Bid for new town centre hub for Mansfield District Council expected to be submitted within weeks

The former Beales store on Queen Street and Stockwell Gate, Mansfield
By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter

A bid to transform a derelict former department store into a new town centre home for Mansfield District Council is expected to be submitted to the Government within weeks.

The Labour-led authority will submit the bid to Whitehall this month as part of its £20 million plans for the Government’s Levelling Up Fund.

If the bid is successful, it would see the former Beales department store, on Stockwell Gate and Queen Street, transformed into a new public sector hub.

The council has said it would move services there from its existing Civic Centre headquarters if the plans receive Government backing, while Nottinghamshire County Council is also on board with the plans.

Papers due before the authority’s overview and scrutiny committee on July 19 confirm the bid is “all but complete”, with additional time being used to “finesse the submission”.

The council says a “strong strategic and economic case” has been prepared, alongside what it describes as a “clear financial and delivery plan”.

The town centre hub in Mansfield, if successful, would see the large Beales building – which ceased operations during the pandemic when the retailer went into administration – given a facelift.

Masterplan documents published by the council last year confirmed the existing bridge, which connects the Queen Street section of the building to the Four Seasons Shopping Centre, would be demolished.

This would free up retail space in the busy shopping centre and provide space for the remaining Beales store to be turned into office space for councils and public authorities.

The Department for Work and Pensions, West Nottinghamshire College, Nottingham Trent University, health bodies and community organisations have expressed an interest in taking up space in the hub.

Mansfield District Council has said the new hub would make public services “more accessible to the public”, while also generating footfall into the town centre.

The move would also see the existing Civic Centre site redeveloped, providing a cash boost to the authority.

Councillor Stuart Richardson (Lab), portfolio holder for regeneration and growth, said: “Moving the council to the town centre and joining forces with other authorities and public sector agencies makes a lot of sense.

“Bringing services together will make them more joined-up, accessible and work better for the public. It will enable our customers to kill two birds with one stone.

“As well as conducting any business they may have in the hub, being in the town centre means they may stay a while, too, and perhaps visit a bank, or do some shopping, or meet friends for lunch, for instance.

“This increase in town centre footfall would be a win-win all round.”

Cllr Keith Girling (Con), cabinet member for economic development and asset management at the county council, took a delegated decision last month to endorse the Mansfield bid.

Cllr Girling has also previously said the authority backs the public sector hub, saying: “This approach makes sense as we look to share resources and make council building more multi-functional and include things like conference facilities and, potentially, libraries.”

Mansfield District Council states it expected the online portal for the Levelling Up Fund to be open on July 6, however, it is yet to open to local authorities.

It was confirmed last month the date was delayed due to issues with the portal.

(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)