Mansfield wins bid for National Lottery funding

March 31, 2017 4:06 pm

Picture of stakeholders in Mansfield townscape heritage project

The Townscape project management team is celebrating after its combined efforts have resulted in a grant of over £900,000 being awarded.  The money from Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will revitalise one of Mansfield’s best-known heritage areas.

Partnership approach

Mansfield Business Improvement District (BID) and Nottinghamshire County Council made the initial approach to the Heritage Lottery Fund.  This bid was for a Townscape Heritage grant to repair and restore some of the most iconic buildings along Leeming Street.  This area forms part of the ‘Market Place Conservation Area’.

The project was then backed by Mansfield District Council.  In addition, full support was offered by Vision West Nottinghamshire College.  This four year project will create new jobs and money will be put back into the local economy.   Moreover there will be a need for support from architects, surveyors and a project development officer.

Major investment

The project overall constitutes an investment of £1,175,500.  £921,600 of which comes from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  At the same time, the project focuses on the importance of the townspeople’s involvement in heritage, instilling an appreciation of the environment.  Furthermore the project encourages local engagement in the history of Mansfield to preserve both built and cultural heritage.  This will include community groups such as schools, colleges and volunteers.  Education and local heritage involvement will be driven through a series of projects over a four year period starting in 2018.

Leeming Street is the first area to benefit from this investment which could see shopfronts restored to their former glory. Landlords and shop owners will be invited to apply for a grant to cover up to 90% of the cost.

Grants available

Eligible activities likely to benefit from grant funding include:

  • Restoration of properties
  • Bringing buildings’ original character back to life
  • Finding new uses for buildings to bring them back into full use.

Conservation area

19 properties have been highlighted that are in need of restoration including six listed buildings.  Indeed  some of these are hundreds of years old and therefore of historic interest for the town.

The high street regeneration project is an important part of maintaining the overall look and feel of the conservation area.  Not only will it encourage new businesses to take up vacant properties, but it will also attract new shoppers to the area.

Education possibilities

This project phase will also provide ‘real life’ work experience opportunities to teach conservation and restoration skills to young people.  Indeed this will help maintain the town’s built heritage for years to come.  Students will support the council and building contractors with the architectural design and physical restoration of buildings.

Education plays a vital role in the overall project.  In fact, it aims to generate a greater awareness about local heritage to promote pride, appreciation and a sense of ownership of the town among residents.  All of which is expected to lead to regeneration of the area and reduced antisocial behaviour.

Schools and the college will have the opportunity to take part in activities such as research and development, photography and art, model building, heritage trail design and heritage walks.  Both as part of their curriculum and the whole project.  Students will use Mansfield as a case study to further develop their skills and understanding of their town’s history.

Vision West Nottinghamshire College aims to support the HLF funded project in a number of other ways too. Plans include:

  • A-level and higher education students to support with research and interpretation looking at ways in which the area’s history can be used to enhance the town centre and encourage more people to visit.
  • Creative media students to produce a film or DVD documenting the heritage of the area, helping raise community awareness and support for the project while instilling civic pride.
  • Performing arts students to devise performances based on local history or historical characters, which will be performed in the town centre as ‘street theatre’ and in local schools.

Further developments

Later on, other parts of the conservation area such as the Market Place could also benefit from the grant.  This could see 19th century shop fronts reinstated and original features restored.  You can view the original funding announcement here.

Partner support

Mansfield BID

Sarah Nelson is Manager of Mansfield BID.  Sarah commented:  “We’re delighted this project is taking off.  In fact, we worked very hard to secure funding for the initial studies into the work’s viability.  Town centres are evolving all the time, with different shops and businesses.  And we are lucky in Mansfield as footfall is increasing and new developments are being introduced all the time.  For example, the Rewarding Visits scheme, marrying both touch screen and voucher technology.  This is a superb example of a modern approach to retail.  Moreover, it is something the BID is working in partnership with other partners to bring to Mansfield town centre.  If we can work to restore some of the old buildings to their former glory, we can attract more shoppers and more businesses into the town centre.  And that has to be a good thing.”

Nottinghamshire County Council

Councillor Diana Meale is the Chair of Economic Development at Nottinghamshire County Council.  Diana said: “This is fantastic news for Mansfield town centre.  Indeed it is testament to several years’ hard work by numerous organisations and individuals.  Not least Mansfield BID, Denis Hill and Councillor Joyce Bosnjak.  Mansfield is blessed with many impressive, iconic buildings which will now be restored to their former glory.  This will help put the pride back into our town centre and give local businesses and visitors a huge lift.  We really hope this can help deliver further footfall increases in Mansfield and give the local economy a  boost.  This complements other recent investments in the town centre such as the bus station interchange. Now we’re looking forward to getting stuck in with our partners and delivering an excellent scheme for the town centre.”

Heritage Lottery Fund

Ros Kerslake is  Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Ros said: “We’ve been investing money raised through the National Lottery in the UK’s historic conservation areas for over 20 years.   And we’ve seen first-hand the incredible difference it’s made to local communities.  This project has the potential to have a powerful effect not only on local pride but also on Mansfield’s economic prosperity.”

Vision West Nottinghamshire College

Louise Knott is Vice-Principal for communications, engagement and student experience at West Nottinghamshire College.  She said: “We’re really looking forward to being part of the heritage scheme.  This project will provide a boost to the town centre’s regeneration and visual amenity.  As well as increasing footfall and ensuring Mansfield remains a vibrant and lively destination, the scheme provides opportunities for students.  These students, from various curriculum areas, will support it in innovative and creative ways, benefiting their overall learning experience.  The town centre’s rich architectural heritage must be cherished and preserved for generations to come.  Of course, this begins with engaging young people.  And using local heritage as a way to help develop their skills.”

Mansfield District Council

Councillor Dave Saunders is Portfolio Holder for Regeneration at Mansfield District Council.  He said: “This grant is going to make a real difference to the way we see our town. Buildings in the conservation area will be restored and improved whilst the heritage of the area is preserved.  It will result in a more inviting and attractive look.  And will therefore help build a vibrant and desirable destination for visitors and further boost the local economy.  Mansfield District Council looks forward to working in partnership as the project develops over the next four years.”

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