City councilors approve the plan to create a commemorative garden on the “surplus to needs” parking lot


Councilors voted plans to convert a small parking lot in downtown Mansfield into a Covid memorial garden weeks after council declared the site ‘surplus to recruitments’.

Mansfield District Council plans will see the 19-space Old Town Hall parking lot on Queen Street converted into a ‘pocket park’ with a stone to commemorate the Covid-19 pandemic.

The authority revealed its plans last month before Councilor Stuart Richardson, holder of the Regeneration and Growth portfolio, made the delegated decision to declare the site redundant.

Council documents specify that the car park has 19 spaces, four of which are for disabled people, but that the loss of parking on the site would not have an impact on the vitality and viability of the city center.

The nearby Walkden Street car park, which has undergone a renovation, has 352 spaces, while the wider city center has 88 spaces for disabled motorists.

Planning documents, approved Monday, November 22, say the site will now be converted into an “urban green space,” with a paved terrace and landscaping bordered by railings and plantings.

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There will also be plantations behind the town hall, with a tiered garden on the site and a commemorative element in the heart of the park.

Councilor June Stendall (Ind), who represents Grange Farm, welcomed the plan and said: “It’s nice to see a part of our town taking green space and it will be nice to see it come to fruition.

“[The town centre] lack of green space for the people who live there and will live there.

Advisers have learned that the site was originally set up 12 years ago as a temporary car park, with documents revealing it was making an average of £ 19,995 over three years.

The meeting heard concerns from a Queen Street merchant who opposed the plans.

Stephen George, who runs the Partytime store, told advisers: “This parking lot is used every day and is always full.

“As traders we have nowhere to unload because of two taxi stands, one running the length of Queen Street, and a disabled parking lot.

“It prevents the trucks from moving. I have to get all my deliveries up to Newgate Lane and then get them into the van.

“The only thing it’s going to encourage is the drug addicts coming together there, which they’re already doing.

“I’ve spoken to quite a few traders and haven’t heard from anyone in favor.”

These concerns were echoed by an adviser in the House.

Cllr Barry Answer (Mans Ind), who represents the Abbott neighborhood, said: “I support much of what the speaker has just said.

“I think it’s an extremely useful little parking lot for people to get into town and use the bank. It is very close.

“It’s a really bad decision that we wanted to set up a postage stamp park right at the back of the town hall.

It is a step backwards to change it from what it is now.

The plans were approved by nine votes to one.