Councils’ joint plan to fire Hucknall’s economy

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HUCKNALL’S economy is set for a boost after Ashfield District Council announced ambitious plans to team up with its Mansfield counterpart to create a development ‘masterplan’.

The scheme is one of the biggest joint projects undertaken by the neighbouring district councils to date.

They have launched a consultation, the results of which will drive plans to grow the local economy and drag the area out of the doldrums of recession.

‘Ambition: A Plan For Growth’ marks one of the biggest team-efforts since both councils pushed forward the development of the Mansfield and Ashfield Regeneration Route (MARR).

To save cash and improve efficiency, the two councils are already sharing some legal services and are looking at combining others, including regeneration.

Views from local businesses and residents, plus potential investors, are being gathered before a detailed strategy is developed.

Officers from the councils presented the plan to local businesses at a meeting of the Mansfield 2020 networking group.

“The cynics out there will say that we’ve had many plans before,” said Frank Horsley, head of community and economic promotion at Ashfield Council.

“But this, I hope, is a plan with a difference.”

Once complete, the full plan is designed to be a ‘road map’ for economic strength, outlining how to sell investment opportunities, boost productivity and make the economy more resilient.

Added Mr Horsley: “As councils, we can facilitate and deliver parts of this plan. But the challenge is for everyone who’s got a stake in the local economy to get involved.”

Cath Lee, a local development manager for the Federation of Small Businesses, said: “In this difficult economic climate, it’s important businesses have their say and shape the future of economic development in their local area.”

The plan is being developed in conjunction with the Sherwood Growth Zone Partnership, combining local councils and West Notts College. It can be viewed at www.sherwoodgrowthzone.org.

Comments can be made online or by email to p.thomas@ashfield-dc.gov.uk.