Town centres update

January 31, 2019 4:19 pm

Invest Ashfield & Mansfield - The area for growth

The times, they are a-changing.  That’s for sure.  And with them, the make-up of our high streets and town centres.  All across the country, we can see traditional retail is struggling.  And with ever-more competition for our disposable income, the onus is on experiences, ambience and generally a good mix.  Here in Ashfield and Mansfield, it’s no different.

Mansfield town centre

Of course, we all have our own opinion about what’s good and what’s bad and how it could be improved.  Well, now there’s a chance to have your say.  Let us know what you think of Mansfield town centre by completing this short survey by 15 February. Responses received will no only inform our Future High Streets Fund bid, but also ongoing town centre management and future event planning. Help us make a difference.

Sutton town centre

Furthermore, Ashfield District Council is looking for your comments on the Draft Sutton Town Centre Spatial Masterplan.  The consultation period has just opened and runs until 5pm on Friday 22nd February.  What’s more, it’s really easy to submit your comments through a variety of different mechanisms.  Find out exactly what it’s about and how you can have your say.

Planning guidance

With a view to our changing town centres, we acknowledge that some change of use may be necessary.  And both District Councils will work with applicants to ensure that this is correctly managed.  In order to support the successful conversion of shops into residential accommodation, Ashfield District Council has recently adopted a helpful guide.

In short, this guide will be taken into account as a material consideration in the planning process.  The Council has prepared this Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) in order to help ensure that we achieve high quality conversions. It sets out not only where a conversion may be appropriate but also where it will not.  In addition, the SPD highlights issues that Planning and Building Control teams look for when considering an application.

In a similar vein, Mansfield District Council offers planning guidance to businesses in general and, more specifically, around uses in the town centre.  There’s even an Interim Planning Guidance (IPG) note on shopfront design and security.  What’s more, if you are a developer, property owner/agent or simply have an interest in planning and regeneration, there’s the Developer Forum.  Meeting once a quarter, this presents a great opportunity to meet with both our planners and regeneration officers.  The next meeting will be on Friday 1 February.

Future High Streets

In addition to the national discount on business rates offered to small retailers, central government has set up a new fund to support the diversification and development of our high streets.  Nationally this is worth around £65m.  Currently both District Councils are preparing bids for this pot of money to help rejuvenate our towns and ensure that they are viable going forwards.

In addition to this funding, both District Councils are developing their place shaping strategies.  Effectively this means promoting both Districts in order to raise their profile both locally and nationally and thereby generating interest.  As part of this, Ashfield District Council has recently launched Discover Ashfield.


In order to support our local businesses across both Ashfield and Mansfield, we offer a range of grants.  Indeed, to support retail firms, we offer an empty shops grant and a shopfront improvement grant.  What’s more, there are also incentives for new market traders.  That’s not to say that we just focus on retail as we also operate a business start-up grant and a business growth grant.  Find out more about all our grants.

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