Mayor under fire over factory buy

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Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton has come under fire over a decision to spend £ 175,000 in council cash buying a derelict factory on the outskirts of the town centre.

Mayor Egginton authorised the purchase of the building in Victoria Street this week, which will now be flattened and used as temporary car parking.

The decision has angered Labour Group politicians, who claim the authority has spent a total of £ 674,200 since 2008 buying three sites around Victoria Street - close to Mansfield Community Hospital.

Labour Group leader Martin Lee said the combined sites only raised around £1,000 over the past financial year from parking revenue, while the council had to pay a total of £1,900 in business rates.

He said: “This makes absolutely no financial sense. The mayor and Coun Kate Allsop, his cabinet member for regeneration, have made some extraordinary decisions in recent years that have resulted in funds being wasted on vanity projects which have done nothing to regenerate the district.

“This decision is on a different level of incompetence.”

In 2008, Mansfield District Council published its Portland Gateway study, which explored ways of regenerating areas of the wider town centre area which had fallen into disrepair due to a downturn in traditional industries.

The report recommended that the council adopt a policy of buying up areas of land around Victoria Street as and when they became available, so the area could eventually be regenerated. It was also recommended that the land, once cleared, should be used for temporary parking.

Mayor Egginton said the land had been purchased to improve future gateways into Mansfield.

He said: “We didn’t want another general hospital site. The Labour Group decided not to buy that site and it took us 20 years to wrestle it back. This is about not being held to ransom by the private sector.”

PICTURED: A temporary car park being opened on the site of Mansfield’s former bus station last year and Mansfield Mayor Tony Egginton.