By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Fears that residents will continue to work from home in the future due to Covid-19 and spend less time in the city centre are to be addressed.
Nottingham City Council is to launch an Economic Recovery and Renewal Plan on how the city prepares to operate in a post-Covid world.
One of the key aims of the plan is to focus on “creativity and culture” to draw people into the city as more people work from home and not within office blocks.
The council says it wants to learn from global cities such as Austin, Texas USA and Berlin in Germany that have managed to create a “strong creative economy.”
The local authority wants to deliver “an ambitious ten-year development plan” to establish the city as “a national and international centre for the creative industries.”
The Labour-run authority said work has already been done including a £30m transformation plan for Nottingham Castle to establish it as a “major tourist attraction.”
Other plans include opening a new Central Library in the Broadmarsh car park and bus station development which has already been built but still needs around £10m to fit it out.
It also plans to make the library a creative hub offering events, gallery and exhibition space as well as a workspace for creative businesses by 2023.
Street art will also be at the forefront of its plans, celebrating “local rebels and pioneers.”
The council says: “We will create a powerful new identity for the city and a fresh retelling of the Nottingham story highlighting the city as a home of innovators and pioneers.
“Nottingham has its story and knows its story well but has never fully embraced it. We will bring this story forwards in a way that is compelling and feels genuinely rooted in Nottingham, drawing on the past but also projecting it forwards as a tool for the future.”
Other plans include pushing ahead with transforming the former Broadmarsh shopping centre into a mixed-use facility including new homes and green space, with better access to Nottingham Caves.
The council also wants to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028 and provide community-based employment support to help 1,000 unemployed disadvantaged individuals annually.
This plan has been developed by the Nottingham Growth Board – a partnership of some of Nottingham’s key businesses, educational institutions, and public sector organisations.
Chair of the board, Nick Ebbs, leader of the council, Cllr David Mellen, and Cllr Rebecca Langton, portfolio holder for skills, growth and economic development have written the plan.
They state: “Prior to the first Covid lockdown in March 2020, there was a growing sense that Nottingham was a city whose time had come.
“The city’s southside was buzzing with a £2bn pipeline of major development and investment, alongside the untapped potential of the Island Quarter.
“We had set out our stall for Nottingham to be the most liveable city centre in the UK and we set out plans to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028.
“The Covid pandemic has accelerated existing trends and presented us with new challenges that have caused us to pause and rethink our plans.
“We don’t yet know how much of the ‘homeworking revolution’ will be permanent. The shift towards online retail has accelerated and the face of the high street is likely to be changed forever.
“With the shift towards homeworking, we have seen a resurgence of local neighbourhoods as people have avoided travel into city centres.
“We are starting to see the emergence of a new hybrid of remote working mixed with less frequent visits to city centre workplaces, and so we need to rethink the relationship between where people live, work and play in the city – not just in the city centre, but in our neighbourhoods too.”
The council’s Executive Board will meet on Tuesday, January 18, to formally adopt the Nottingham Economic Recovery and Renewal Plan.