Council wants to run national competition for major housing scheme in Mansfield

Mansfield District Council is looking to launch a major competition inviting architects worldwide to design a significant new social housing scheme on a derelict site close to the town centre.

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) would manage the competition to find an outstanding design for Mansfield’s White Hart Street area.


The council purchased land in this area in order to facilitate the regeneration of this key town centre site. The area has stood derelict for over a decade now. It previously had planning permission for a mixed retail and residential scheme in 2008, but market conditions meant this scheme was never taken forward.

The area subsequently became blighted and has, as a consequence, become a magnet for anti-social behaviour. Redevelopment of this area would strongly align with the council’s Growth, Aspiration, Wellbeing and Place priorities.

Cllr Marion Bradshaw, Portfolio Holder for Safer Communities, Housing and Wellbeing, is now being recommended to approve a decision on 21 October about appointing RIBA to manage the competition.

Last year she approved a decision for the council to purchase parcels of land in the area so that the site, as a whole, could be redeveloped for council housing.

A budget of £16.5m for this was approved by Full Council in 2019 as part of the council’s programme to build over 100 council homes.


She said: “We want to improve this derelict and blighted part of Mansfield and see something really special on this piece of land.

“It must be a development which respects its historical significance and the conservation area in which it sits but also looks to the future. It also needs to be a development which is environmentally sustainable and mitigates climate change.

“It will promote a safe place to live and, crucially, it must reflect the council’s available budget for this scheme.

“The redevelopment would represent a vital element of the masterplan which we are in the process of putting together for the town centre to map out a future path for growth and regeneration.

“A key vision of that masterplan is to make the town centre a place where people want to live because this will increase the footfall for retailers and improve the look of the centre, all of which, in turn, should act as a catalyst for external investment.”

If approved by Cllr Bradshaw on 21 October, the RIBA-managed competition would cost the council a maximum of £79,000.

The council believes that having such an eminent organisation managing the competition would give the council access to the RIBA’s global membership and attract high-quality design responses.

Having RIBA on board is considered critical in the eyes of many architects and would also bring rigour, credibility and prestige to the selection process, and reassurance that the competition would be managed to best practice standards.

It would also help to ensure the whole process of redeveloping the site is structured and auditable.

Cllr Bradshaw added: “Running a RIBA-approved competition would promote the district of Mansfield nationally and internationally and demonstrate that, as a town, it is progressive in its aspirations and open for business. It would bring with it a real atmosphere of excitement.”

The firm winning the competition would progress the design for planning permission – subject to approval by the Full Council of the business case.

The area to be redeveloped is located within the Bridge Street conservation area which contains buildings of historic and architectural merit. The homes built are expected to be a mix of housing types and would be added to the council’s stock of affordable homes.

It is anticipated the design competition would run between November 2022 to March 2023, with a decision on the winner made in April 2023.

After that, a detailed design would be drawn up, with a decision on the business case expected in September 2023.

If that business case is approved, it would be followed by a planning application in October 2023. If that is approved, demolition work could start in early 2024 and building work in July 2024.

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