By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
The leader of Nottingham City Council is calling on the government to include the former Broadmarsh shopping centre in its ‘Levelling Up’ plans.
The Labour-run authority missed out on a £20m bid last year to demolish parts of the decaying shopping centre to make way for a multi-use leisure, business and housing development.
On February 2, the government unveiled its Levelling Up White Paper, but Nottingham city is not mentioned in it by name.
It says the government will support 20 towns and city centres, starting off with Wolverhampton and Sheffield, undertaking ambitious, “King’s Cross-style regeneration projects, transforming derelict urban sites into beautiful communities”.
Cllr David Mellen, leader of the council, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service there is “no question” the Broadmarsh should be included in this.
Former Broadmarsh operators Intu went into administration in 2020 just as demolition work was taking place to transform the site into a brand new leisure facility with cinema and bowling alley.
The site was then handed back to the city council in a part-demolished state.
A ‘big conversation’ was held with the public, with the ideas transformed into a new vision by Nottingham Project’s Greg Nugent and acclaimed designer Thomas Heatherwick.
The plan for the Broadmarsh is to divide the site into zones with the potential to create 750 homes with views of Nottingham Castle, a hotel next to Nottingham Contemporary and 400,000 sq ft of business space to create up to 6,000 jobs.
Nottingham Caves would have a completely new entrance to raise its profile as a key tourist destination, and there would be a green space at the heart of the development for people to enjoy.
The former frame of the derelict shopping centre would be kept and could become a place that could house recording studios, a music venue, food outlets, gyms, a skate park, and community garden projects.
But the council will have to find up to £6m for master planning, legal work and preparation to take the vision to the private and public sector markets.
It is not yet known where this money will come from, but an announcement is set for the spring.
Speaking about the government’s transformation announcement, Cllr Mellen said: “The Broadmarsh site fits fairly and squarely into the Government’s description of a large ambitious project to regenerate and transform a derelict urban site, and no question that it should form part of the Government’s Levelling Up agenda.
“Since submitting our first bid for Levelling Up funding to take our ambitions plans forward, we have seen the exciting vision for the site from Thomas Heatherwick which is truly transformative and will breathe new life into this significant site in our city.
“I’m hopeful that this marries up with the Government’s aspirations for cities like ours which have too often been overlooked and that we can work productively with them to put these plans into action.”
On the plans, Levelling Up Secretary Michael Gove said: “Levelling Up and this White Paper is about ending this historic injustice and calling time on the postcode lottery.
“This will not be an easy task, and it won’t happen overnight, but our 12 new national levelling up missions will drive real change in towns and cities across the UK, so that where you live will no longer determine how far you can go.”