By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham City Council is looking to spend £695,000 on advisors to accelerate the redevelopment plans for the former Broadmarsh shopping centre.
The local authority says it needs to act fast to prevent the “further deterioration” of Lister Gate and “further shop closures”, and to get preparatory work going on the scheme.
The site was handed back to the council in a half-demolished state after Broadmarsh operator Intu went bust in 2020.
At the time, the shopping centre company was in the early stages of a redevelopment plan which would have seen a new look for the centre including a mixture of shops and attractions.
The council then revealed a brand new design and long-term vision for the area last year after months of public consultation, but how and when it will be funded and completed remains uncertain.
The plan includes dividing the site – which has a footprint size similar to that of Wembley Stadium – into zones with the potential to create 750 homes with views of Nottingham Castle.
Other areas would have an art hotel next to Nottingham Contemporary and 400,000 square feet 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.
Part of the former frame of the derelict shopping centre would be kept and could be used to house a music venue, food outlets, a skate park, and a potential Tate Nottingham gallery.
But the council lost out on a £20m government Levelling Up bid last year – some of which would have been spent on demolishing the rest of the shopping centre.
Under a delegated decision on May 17, meaning it took place outside of a council meeting, the local authority has outlined and approved some of its next steps.
This will allow the Labour-run authority to start procurement to appoint a Master Planner and Development Manager for the Broadmarsh redevelopment.
It will also include granting the authority the power to procure all advisors as required for the purpose of completing a new second round Levelling Up application.
This application will include retaining the shopping centre structures and creating a more detailed business case on the Broadmarsh project.
In outlining the reason for the plan and spending, the council said: “Not progressing with the activities would mean the overall programme of re-development of the Broadmarsh would be significantly delayed resulting in further deterioration in the activity on Lister Gate and surrounding areas of the Broadmarsh.
“This could lead to further shop closures and further loss of employment.
“Delay would also negatively affect the council’s ability to secure external funding for longer-term delivery, as the master planning and due diligence will provide confidence of delivery for external funders.”
The council also further explained in the delegated decision why it needs consultants to carry out the next stage of the Broadmarsh redevelopment.
A Master Planner would turn the vision into a master plan, creating a “more detailed, deliverable solution for the site”.
A Consultant Development Manager is needed as the current council team needs “additional technical support” as resources are “extremely limited”.
The council also plans to appoint an advisor to look at the delivery of ‘the Frame’ – the structure of the former Broadmarsh shopping centre which will be maintained as part of the redevelopment.
The council also said maintaining the current partly-demolished Broadmarsh shopping centre comes with “significant security costs for the council.”
The council says it has £180,000 of the £695,000 required available within its capital programme budget for the Broadmarsh. More capital funding will need to be identified to make up the shortfall.
Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “We are keen to continue progress on the Broadmarsh site, moving from a vision that we unveiled at the end of last year, to a master plan for this site which is full of opportunities for Nottingham.
“This requires support and it is at this stage that we are bringing in the skills of a Master Planner and other experts to help us progress this exciting project. This will help us put a strong submission in for Levelling Up funding from Government.
“This site now presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something unique and special for Nottingham, which will complement the work that’s already underway to transform this part of the city.
“People can already see reimagined pedestrian-friendly streets and public spaces, heritage-led improvements and a new car park and bus station – with work on fitting out the new Central Library expected to begin soon.
“We have demolished a large part of the former shopping centre, part of which will be developed into a new public space linking the Broad Marsh area with the city centre.”