By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
A multi-storey car park built in the heart of Nottingham will not be underused despite the demise of the Broadmarsh shopping centre, the city council has said.
The new new Broadmarsh car park will provide more than 1,200 car parking spaces including charging points for electric cars and disabled parking.
It is part of a much wider £50m project by Nottingham City Council, which also includes a new bus station and central library on the site.
The car park, which is due to open in autumn 2021, was partly planned to serve the increase in shoppers visiting the new Broadmarsh shopping centre before its parent company Intu went into administration part-way through the development.
The new shopping centre would have had a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, but is now being demolished while a new plan for the area is created by the council.
This is expected to be mixed use and include some green space, but it could take up to 10 years to complete.
And some analysts are concerned the demise of the Broadmarsh means shoppers will not be drawn to the new car park, and find alternative parking elsewhere in the city.
But Cllr Sam Webster (Lab), portfolio holder for finance at Nottingham City Council, said there was plenty of development in the area where people will need car parking spaces.
He said: “Broadmarsh is a massive opportunity. It is the biggest urban regeneration in any city in Europe.
“We have got a new HMRC building (in Unity Square) opening next year with around 4,000 permanent staff – and we have got Nottingham Castle.
“This is a linchpin building and it is not just a car park, it is a brand new bus station and it will be a central library.”
Concerns have been raised by independent Nottingham retail analyst Nelson Blackley.
He said: “Who is going in large numbers to find a car parking space in that part of town? It is not going to be for people shopping.
“The original Broadmarsh had a cinema, bowling alley and restaurants and you could see there would be a demand in car parking but that has changed.
“It is also less easy to drive into the city centre now than it was five years ago and that is a reality.
“From a council point of view, they will have planned an anticipated income from car parking charges and if that does not happen then from a financial view it will have repercussions.
“If the car parking charges are considerably lower than other city centre car parking then that might attract a greater demand, but I can’t see the council doing that.
“The only other possible situation is the council could lease out the spaces to local businesses.
“The delay in the library opening [pushed back to 2023] is not going to help, but the bus station will be fine and there will be a lot of footfall.
“To be fair to the council if everything that was envisioned at the Broadmarsh (before Intu went into administration) became a reality, the car park would have been a useful resource.
“Now they are going to have to think on their feet.”