A couple of weeks ago at Prime Minister’s Questions, I asked Rishi Sunak to re-commit his support to levelling up Mansfield.
I also wrote to him, along with 9 other East Midlands MPs, urging him to speed up the legislation that will unlock even more investment and new opportunities for us.
I’m pleased Government responded so quickly to this plea, with the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Michael Gove, paying Mansfield a visit last week to meet with me and discuss our levelling up plans .
One of the biggest investments announced in recent months is the renovation of the old Beales building at Stockwell Gate, soon to benefit from £20 million of transformational levelling up funding turning the building into a civic hub. Given that this building is never likely to be commercially viable for anyone to take on in the condition it’s in, the only way to revive it is with a project like this. We can’t let it rot, so we have to do something!
It was fantastic to be able to show the Secretary of State in person the benefits this investment will bring to Mansfield, with the now derelict building soon to be a hub for things like education, skills, health and leisure, as well as public services, and drawing an extra 1000 people a day in to town to support shops and businesses.
I’m happy the government continues to take levelling up our part of the world so seriously, and that I’ve been able to successfully lobby them for so much of this funding.
Alongside the investment at Stockwell Gate, we’ve also got our Towns Fund worth over £12 million (plus some further match funding) which will improve parking in the town centre, build us a new Warsop leisure centre, and turn Berry Hill Park in to a proper destination for a day out, among other things
The recently announced Levelling Up Partnership with Government will bring a further £20 million or so our way, but more than that, it’s a chance for us to really look to tackle some of the deeper, long term problems in partnership with government and its agencies, like Homes England for example.
Ultimately this massive investment here in Mansfield is just the beginning. Along with towns across the East Midlands, this funding comes on top of major regional projects that will benefit Mansfield too, like the 1000 jobs in clean energy that are coming through the STEP Fusion project just down the road.
I'm continuing to urge the government to hurry up and deliver the Levelling Up Bill so we can create our East Midlands combined authority too, which comes with several billion of extra investment and new powers to do more for our area. This could be a real game changer for local transport, economic growth, housing and more.
We’ve got loads to look forward to over the coming years, and it’s important now that we see spades in the ground quickly and residents can see the benefits. I hope during Michael Gove’s visit last week I’ve helped to impress on him that sense of urgency for delivery that Mansfield and the East Midlands needs.