By Matt Jarram, Local Democracy Reporter
A major skateboarding park could be built close to the new Nottingham College building as part of the Broadmarsh area redevelopment.
The ambitious plans will be a collaboration between Nottingham City Council, Skate Nottingham and Skateboard GB.
It is planned for Sussex Street and will be an “all-weather, well-lit space surrounded by a perimeter ledge between the skate area and the pedestrian footpath”.
It will be built by Betongpark, a firm responsible for recent skateboarding installations at Somerset House and The Strand in London.
Work has started, with the park set to open late September or early October.
Chris Lawton, community development officer for Skateboard GB and co-founder of Skate Nottingham, has been part of the project since it began.
He told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “The Broadmarsh development is a decade-long project so what can we do now? This project has involved young people. This space will be unique and open 24 hours, well-lit and free – and it won’t just be for skateboarding.
“I was quite confident Nottingham has the strongest skateboarding community in the country pre-Covid. We have two national champions in the city and Nottingham can do a lot more to celebrate this asset.
“It is really grassroots and we hope more young people will skate and develop.”
In Nottingham, 13-year-old Miriam Nelson won this year’s Skateboard GB National Championships.
The city council and Skate Nottingham have been working with local and international experts to develop plans for the space as part of the wider Sussex Street development in front of the new Nottingham College building.
The area has undergone a complete makeover through government Transforming Cities funds, which has meant improvements to streets around the new Broadmarsh car park, bus station and Central Library building.
More than 100 local young people participated in a design project for the new skateboarding area.
The council says the area will be “noticeably different from a traditional skatepark” because items of skateable street furniture will be mobile as the Broadmarsh plan develops.
This will fit into the wider feel of Sussex Street with a flexible events area, basketball hoops and outdoor public seating, the council said.
Skate Nottingham has been awarded a National Lottery grant of almost £10,000 to fund an ambitious programme of activities from the site, including free weekly beginners and women and girls-only skateboard sessions.
It will also launch a Crowdfunder UK campaign to finance the installation of the street furniture.
Cllr David Mellen, leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “This is a really forward-thinking project for our young people to get involved with and, when completed, will help to further enhance this key part of the Broadmarsh area.
“Sussex Street is taking shape quickly and has been totally transformed. Walking up into town from Canal Street now is a pleasant experience and we know what a difference it makes for students working out of the new college campus.
“Introducing a skateboard space fits in perfectly with the wider, more contemporary feel of the area and we look forward to seeing how it develops over the coming months.”
James Hope-Gill, CEO of Skateboard GB, said: “This is incredibly exciting, one year on from Team GB’s Olympic skateboarding medal.
“Cities like Nottingham taking the initiative to design skateboarding into a wider development that encourages socialising, urban sports and active play is really innovative, and helps us imagine how town centres can recover and re-invent themselves in exciting and inclusive ways while enabling more children and adults to skate more, skate better.”
Last year, the council revealed a brand new design and long-term vision for the former Broadmarsh shopping centre.
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.
The council lost out on a £20 million government Levelling Up bid last year – some of which would have been spent on demolishing the rest of the shopping centre. The council intends to apply again.