The so-called 'Sainsbury's Junction' where the A60 crosses with Baums Lane and a major retail park in the South of Mansfield has been a topic of discussion for many years, ever since planning permission was given by Mansfield District Council for the site with only one entrance and exit. This has caused significant congestion for many years, with residents regulalry reporting queues of over half an hour to exit the Retail Park at peak times.
After his election in 2017, Mansfield's MP Ben Bradley made a commitment to improve the junction, and brought several different Transport Secretaries to Mansfield to look at it. He worked with the County Council to draw up plans, and managed to secure the funding from a Department for Transport 'Pinch Point Fund' in March 2020. Unfortunately the announcement coincided with the start of the Covid Pandemic, and when the first lockdown was put in place just days later, transport funding was all redirected to tackling the health emergency and the funding was lost.
Mr Bradley has always maintained his commitment though, and despite the junction often being raised as an issue he's so far failed to solve, he has always reiterated his promise that he was working on it and would find a solution.
On Monday January 8th the Government announced the projects that will be funded by the £20m Levelling Up Partnership, which was allocated to Mansfield in early 2023. Included in this list was £2m for the Sainsbury's Junction to help relieve congestion, which means that alongside allocated County Council funding, there is now enough money in the pot to deliver the scheme.
Ben Bradley announced the news on his Facebook page, saying:
''WE'VE DONE IT! Sainsbury's Junction funding secured!! I first secured funding for this back in 2020, just days before the pandemic set in and all funds were pulled and diverted to protecting lives. It's been a three year mission to try and find alternative sources of funding for the plan, and now - WE'VE DONE IT!! Nottinghamshire County Council will fund part of the project to expand capacity at this junction, and today it's been announced that the Government will fund the rest through the Levelling Up Partnership. Three years, countless meetings, countless different avenues explored, but I promised local people I would get it done, and now we're going to deliver!''
Commenting on the importance of Levelling Up Partnerships, Local Government Secretary Michael Gove said:
“Levelling Up Partnerships are a key tool to drive much-needed change in local areas, and we are working intensively with places which for too long had been overlooked and undervalued. Our £20 million funding for Mansfield will also help remodel the Bellamy and Oak Tree housing estates, develop young people’s green construction skills in partnership with Nottingham Trent University, address anti-social behaviour, and support East Midlands’ devolution deal.”
Final stages of planning work for the project, which amongst other elements is believed to involve the expansion of the exit of the junction to allow more vehicles to exit the retail park at one time, will now take place at Nottinghamshire County Council, where Mr Bradley is the Council Leader. Commenting on the announcement, he said:
Ben Bradley MP, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said:
“The Levelling Up Partnership represents a chance for us to tackle some long-term and important issues for our area, particularly in disadvantaged areas. One of the many projects is involved is at the Sainsburys Junction. Residents will know that this junction has been a personal mission of mine for several years so I’m delighted we’ve been able to secure this funding. I’m grateful to the Ministers and the Department for their support in delivering these projects. Now I want to get this all finalised and get spades in the ground as soon as possible.”