By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
Cash-strapped city councillors are hoping to attract thousands of jobs to Nottingham by redeveloping derelict sites.
The Labour-run council has set out draft plans it says will help create 15,000 jobs to replace the 4,000 roles lost as the local retail and hospitality sector has been crushed during the pandemic.
The plans also highlight how the authority intends to save money, create 4,000 new homes, fill 50,000 potholes, and make the city more environmentally friendly.
This includes reducing plastic use by providing water bottle refill stations in the city centre.
The council had to renew its Strategic Plan – drawn up in 2019 – on the back of a damning report into how it manages its finances, following the collapse of Robin Hood Energy.
The independent report criticised the council for its decision-making, management of risk and for the scale of its ambitions in relation to its financial position.
In response, the council produced a three-year Recovery and Improvement Plan saying how it will address the issues and achieve financial stability.
Now its revamped Strategic Plan – a draft was delivered to the Executive Board on Tuesday, August 17 – says it wants to attract 15,000 new jobs to the city by 2023.
The authority believes this can be done by completing exiting developments at Nottingham Science Park, Unity Square and the former Players site.
Work will also begin on the BBC Island site and there will be further development of Nottingham’s Creative Quarter, next to Sneinton Market.
Twenty vacant sites will be brought back into use for employment opportunities and 500 people over the age of 50 will be helped back into work or training.
The report says the council will “grow Nottingham’s economy through attracting inward investment into the city to create jobs, bringing back into use vacant sites, and ensuring new development provide the spaces and places that people and businesses want as we recover from the impact of Covid-19.”
But the authority also desperatley needs to save money and bring down its borrowing by selling off land and buildings – and reviewing the companies it has set up in recent years.
The plan states: “In response to the outcome of the review, we may retain, bring in-house or dispose/divest of companies as appropriate to ensure the best outcome for the city council and city overall.”
Other key points from the Draft Plan include:
- Reducing fly tipping by investigating and fining more fly-tippers.
- Providing a network of inclusive, sustainable, and quality public libraries to compliment the new Central Library.
- Working with local people, partners and businesses to become the first carbon neutral city in the country, aiming to reach this target by 2028.
- Reducing plastic use by providing water bottle refill stations in the city centre, encouraging households to manage their waste better, and making the City Council single-use plastic free.
- Reducing repeat hate crimes by 10 per cent and tackling anti-social behaviour in communities.
- Maintaining 24 hour staffed CCTV monitoring.
- Providing a free book every month from birth to five years, for 10,000 Nottingham children.
- Closing the gap of GCSE attainment to within five per cent of the national average.
- Guaranteeing a choice of places at a local primary and secondary school for every Nottingham child.
- Increasing attendance in Nottingham schools to above the national average.
- Increasing the number of Nottingham foster carers year-on-year, to provide a more settled home for Children in Care.
- Supporting 1,000 more Nottingham young people into learning and work, and working with businesses to create 500 new apprenticeships.
- Working with at least 500 young people every year who are at risk of becoming involved in gangs and knife crime or at risk of exploitation.
- Creating more smoke-free zones in areas regularly accessed by children.
- Continuing to work with partners to help Nottingham people access jobs by promoting tram extensions through Waterside, south of Clifton, and to the proposed new HS2 Station.
- Making public transport even more convenient through the introduction of multi operator contactless payment and continued improvements to the Robin Hood Card.
- Introducing contactless payments for city centre parking.
- Filling 50,000 potholes, improving pavements and resurfacing 100 roads citywide.
- Increasing the number of social, affordable homes and homes for the homeless by 1,000.
- Ensuring the development of 4,000 new homes including aspirational eco-homes and low-cost homes to rent or buy.
- Transforming the land alongside the River Trent into a neighbourhood of choice and working with Blueprint to build sustainable new homes.
- Encouraging purpose-built student accommodation in places where it reduces pressure on family housing.
- Reviewing property assets portfolio and selling those that can be used to generate income. This includes the sale of land.
- Reviewing council-owned companies and wider commercial activity.