Nottingham City Council commissioned a national strategy organisation to gather information from key organisations in the city about the strengths and weaknesses of the city centre now and how they would like to see it improved over the coming years.
Metro Dynamics has produced a City Centre Strategy report which outlines possible new projects and directions for the city centre and as part of the information gathering process, now wants to hear from members of the public what they think of the ideas – or if they have other thoughts on ways the city can improve.
The report comes as an unprecedented level of development is underway in the city, showing that there is a huge amount of potential that has remained untapped for too long. Around £2bn of development is underway or in the pipeline in the city’s Southside including new homes and offices, college, central library, car park and bus station, and revitalised intu Broadmarsh and castle, as well as transformed streets and public spaces. It’s an indication of the scale of change Nottingham could see in coming years if it seizes the moment and thinks big – and the consultation aims to help shape how that might happen.
Areas considered in the strategy include the sort of businesses Nottingham should focus on attracting and how, which existing buildings should be targeted for improvement, how best to strengthen links – especially by foot and bike – between the city and outlying areas including the River Trent, how to increase the number of people living and working in the city, how to maximise the potential of existing assets such as the caves and castle and how and where to increase the city’s green spaces.
It’s estimated the draft proposals in the strategy, could see:
• Nottingham’s economy grow by £4 billion a year
• 20,000 more people living in or near the city centre, and 10,000 more people working in the city centre
• 1.5 million monthly footfall in key shopping areas
• 500,000 people visiting the city for tourist attractions, especially the transformed Nottingham Castle.
Councillor Sam Webster, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Business Growth and City Centre, said: “We believe that Nottingham is a city whose time has come. The economic success of the city centre is so important in driving prosperity and improving the quality of life for the residents of the city and wider conurbation.
“We can see that now, with cranes on the skyline, driven by a combination of City Council and external investment, our city centre is changing rapidly. We want to make sure that Nottingham city centre capitalises on the current developments taking place continues to adapt to the challenges faced by cities up and down the country and continues to be the thriving regional capital we all know and love.
“This consultation is about finding out whether people agree with the direction and focus of our future city centre vision for the 2020s and beyond. By taking part in this consultation, people will be helping to shape the future of our great city centre.”
Jeff Allen, chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID) said: “This is a good time to be looking at a long term strategy for the city. The very things that have been criticised over the last ten years about a lack of development may now work in our favour as we look to reinvent our city without the burden of excessive amounts of redeveloped retail space from which other cities will no doubt suffer.
“Nottingham is uniquely placed, with its compact core centre and big village feel to once more become the social, residential and workplace hub for its people. Combine this with our public transport infrastructure that is already the envy of other cities, not just in the UK, and we can see that the potential is huge.”
Nigel Wheatley, centre director for intu Broadmarsh, said: “It’s a very exciting time for Nottingham city centre and we should absolutely be looking at the long-term future in order to keep building on the momentum.
“The regeneration works at intu Broadmarsh are progressing really well ahead of completion in summer 2021, with the new-look destination set to boost Nottingham in the national retail rankings. Looking further ahead, the City Centre Strategy will help us all focus on continually working hard together to deliver even more economic growth and prosperity for generations to come.”