City centre redesign should include more green space

City centre redesign should include more green space

Thousands of people have put forward their views on how Nottingham’s Broadmarsh Centre should be redeveloped.

More than 3,000 people had a say ahead of a New Year’s Day deadline for the site, which came under control of Nottingham City Council after former owner Intu went into administration mid-way through the development of the centre. It currently stands partially-demolished.

The council is holding what it calls a “big conversation” about what should happen with the site and has said it is open to hearing all options. The consultation was launched over autumn, with a range of ideas presented by local people.

Among them was a suggestion by Green Party and Liberal Democrat representatives that the Broadmarsh should be replaced with parks and space for small businesses in eco-friendly buildings. Alexis Lane, a graduate of Nottingham Trent University’s School Of Architecture, drew up the plan of the shared vision, which has been welcomed by the national leaders of both parties.

The council also reached out to young people at schools and Nottingham College, and with local businesses through round-table events.

Other suggestions have included leisure opportunities, smaller shops, space for markets, tourist attractions and food outlets.

The city council says it will not make any decisions until the feedback from the Big Conversation is assessed. Then, work will begin on a master plan for the site, with demolition of part of the centre due to funding from D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership.

Councillor David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “The Big Conversation has really captured people’s imagination.

“It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to re-imagine a significant space right in the heart of one of the country’s core cities and build a new post-Covid vision for urban areas that is people-centred and green but also leads to jobs and housing, improving quality of life.

“What has been interesting to see among the understandable desire for green space is the number of respondents who have called for this and something else – small shops, markets, offices, restaurants, entertainment – to complement the new space.

“We know that people really value open, green spaces in Nottingham, with more than 31 per cent of the city made up of green space, despite our tight urban boundary.

“We’ve also got 73 Green Flag parks – more than any other council area. Nottingham aims to be the first carbon-neutral city in the UK.

“We’d want to see this ambition reflected in the future for Broadmarsh in some way.

“We will need to work in partnership with private and public-sector partners to develop any future plans, not least due to the financial pressures we and many other councils are facing at the moment.

“There are practical challenges with the site too, due to different height levels and the current structure being partly demolished.

“But a lot of important preparation work has already taken place as part of the previous development and we have funding from the Local Enterprise Partnership to carry out further demolition work.

“2020 didn’t work out as anyone planned and that was certainly the case for the Broadmarsh Centre.

“But it’s presented us with an unexpected opportunity which in 2021 we hope to shape together into something wonderful for our city.”

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