By Joe Locker, Local Democracy Reporter
A second bid for £20m in Government cash to continue transforming the former Broadmarsh Centre site in Nottingham has failed.
Political leaders in the city said the news was “exceptionally disappointing”.
Labour-run Nottingham City Council originally missed out on a Levelling Up bid for £20m for the site in October 2021, but the impact of the blow was lessened as it secured £18m to renew pavements, roads and install electric charging points.
Following this an entirely new vision was drawn up and used to strengthen the business case for a second round bid.
Three bids were submitted in total, the first being £20m for the Broadmarsh, another £20m for Bulwell town centre and a third for £18m to push work forward on the Island Quarter.
The council found out all three of its bids had failed at the same time as journalists late on January 18.
Alex Norris, Nottingham North MP and shadow Levelling Up minister, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “It’s exceptionally disappointing to see that our city’s bids have not succeeded.
“The Government has no interest in supporting Nottingham.
“Nevertheless our ideas are good ones and we will keep fighting to see them become reality.”
The vision for the Broadmarsh redevelopment was created with the help of world-renown urban designer Thomas Heatherwick, in the hope the stronger business case would convince the Government to hand over the cash the second time.
The plan was to divide the site into zones and build 750 homes with views of Nottingham Castle, an art hotel next to Nottingham Contemporary and business space to create up to 6,000 jobs.
Nottingham Caves was to receive a make-over with a completely new entrance to raise its profile as a key tourist destination.
The £20m would have gone towards work to transform what remains of the frame of the centre as a music venue with food outlets, a skate park and community garden projects.
Leader of the council, Cllr David Mellen, said: “All three Nottingham bids were very strong and clearly aligned to what the Levelling Up Fund is meant to be about.
“So it’s clearly a big disappointment that all of them have been turned down for Levelling Up funding, which Nottingham so clearly needs.
“Work on the Green Heart, which was a key element of the vision and something many people wanted to see, will still get underway this year using national funding we have already secured.
“We will continue our public realm improvements in the area, which are also funded from a different Government pot, as well as completing the fit-out of the new Central Library later this year.
“Anyone visiting the area today can see that a huge transformation has already taken place and with more to come – especially the Green Heart which I think is going to be a hugely exciting, popular and welcome addition to our city centre. There’s still a lot to be positive about.
“The Levelling Up bid was for work to retain and re-use the Frame of the old shopping centre which is just one aspect of a wider vision for the whole site. It is still an element we want to include and we will explore alternative public and private funding options so that the whole vision can be realised.”
A bid for £18m to continue work on the 40-acre Island Quarter site, just off London Road, has also failed.
The bid to Government would have helped renovate three heritage warehouse buildings to provide a community open theatre and creative and digital studio space.
Robert Ware, chief executive of the Conygar Investment Company, added: “We have received notice that Nottingham City Council’s bid for the latest round of Levelling Up Funding has been turned down by the government.
“The funding would have acted as a catalyst to accelerate the regeneration of the heritage warehouses on The Island Quarter site, and we share the city council’s disappointment in the result.
“Despite this decision, we continue to be committed to the regeneration of The Island Quarter and its reconnecting these iconic warehouses with the city and surrounding areas by bringing them back into community use.”
Elsewhere locally, bids to regenerate Worksop town centre with £18m, as well as £16.5 million to repair the iconic Bennerley Viaduct in Kimberley and £3.1 million to re-purpose a Victorian underground reservoir in Sutton-in-Ashfield into a planetarium were successful.