Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Building work well underway on Nottingham’s Green Heart

Building work is well underway to create the new wildlife-rich Green Heart in Nottingham, which is part of the Broad Marsh area and the site of the former shopping centre. This is a key element of the wider Broad Marsh Vision developed by Heatherwick Studios.

The new green space will be a place to enjoy nature with 38 trees, 34 of them newly planted, plus areas of colourful planting, a new ‘marsh’ area and several footpaths and places to sit.

Sandstone, which is the same rock on which Nottingham Castle was built and the city’s unique cave system was cut, is being used to create pathways and new large boulders for seating. Plus, there is a long new bench that arcs through the planting and marsh allowing people to sit, enjoy and experience nature.

The Green Heart is also a key pedestrian route, so there will be a main path creating a clear and direct route from the train station to the city centre. This pedestrian route will be well lit at night and will be the route to all the other seating areas during the day and a place for people with limited mobility to stop and rest.

This new space, which is just the start of the green transformation and is due to be completed this Summer, will enhance biodiversity by creating green, natural habitats and food for wildlife. A key aim is to put the ‘marsh’ back to the Broad Marsh.

Plus, this year a new law made it so that all new developments in England must be “nature positive.” This is to help the country meet our target to stop the decline in wildlife by 2030. This means that developers must increase the natural habitat by 10% (Biodiversity Net Gain BNG). The Green Heart has smashed this target and has increased the natural habitat by 438% (BNG).

The design of the Green Heart is unique to Nottingham and has been developed by Townshend Landscape Architects along with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, with Heatherwick Studio retained as a strategic design advisor, with contractor Willmott Dixon carrying out the construction work.

The Green Heart project is being delivered using grant funding secured from Central Government through the Transforming Cities programme.

While the Section 114 report means that money Nottingham City Council can spend is currently strictly controlled, because external grant funding has previously been specifically allocated and approved for this scheme it can go ahead.

Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s great to see this area of the Broad Marsh being transformed into a hugely important green space, which is right in the centre of our city. Public feedback in the Big Conversation consultation made it clear that green space was what people wanted – we listened, and we are now delivering.

“Anyone who has visited the area recently will see how much it has changed with lots of greenery, pedestrianised areas and seating. I am particularly pleased that Collin Street is now a family friendly space that people can enjoy right outside the new Central Library. The creation of the Green Heart will take the transformation of Broad Marsh a major step further and will be a beautiful addition to the city centre which is unique to Nottingham.”

Nick Heath, director at Willmott Dixon, said: “It’s a privilege to be involved in the transformation of such an important site in Nottingham, a city which many of our own employees live and work in.

“We have been involved in this regeneration since the demolition of the former Broadmarsh Centre in 2021, so it will be rewarding to deliver a vision we helped begin. Our aim is to always leave a lasting legacy in the communities that surround our work and this project embodies that spirit given the significant social benefits it will bring.”

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