A major new plan has been put forward by key partners in Nottingham for building a prosperous future for the city’s economy post-Covid which is green, digital, creative and inclusive.

The Nottingham Economic Recovery and Renewal Plan has been developed by the Nottingham Growth Board, a partnership of key city businesses, educational institutions and public sector organisations; One Nottingham, the city’s Strategic Partnership; and Nottingham City Council.

Published for consultation with local people and businesses, the plan sets out a bold vision to address the major economic challenges Covid has created or accelerated, including rising unemployment, the decline of high street retail and the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on young people, BAME communities, women, older people & people with disabilities.

The Plan reimagines Nottingham as a green, creative, inclusive and digitally enabled city, widely recognised as an internationally renowned city of culture, creativity & innovation; the UK’s first carbon neutral city and a place which offers opportunities for everyone.

It focuses on the delivery of six key ambitions:

• City of Creativity & Culture – building on the Creative Quarter and Nottingham’s Unesco City of Literature status to become an internationally renowned centre of culture and creativity with a reinvigoration of Nottingham’s story and brand identity brought to life by events, festivals and cultural ideas.
• Reshaping the City – physically regenerating the City to create a more sustainable and liveable place adapted for a post-Covid and more digitally enabled world using the opportunity to redevelop the Broadmarsh centre as a catalyst for wider change
• Carbon Neutral City – transforming green investment at scale to build on Nottingham’s track record of delivery to become the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028.
• Digital Enterprise – building on the city’s fintech strengths to enhance Nottingham as a significant national centre for digital technologies and enterprise, underpinned by a programme of upskilling across communities.
• Entrepreneurship & Innovation – supporting businesses (existing, new and early stage) to survive and thrive, targeting growth in key sectors and developing our entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.
• Skills & Employment – preventing long-term mass unemployment by supporting a culture of enterprise and offering extensive and inclusive reskilling/upskilling programmes for citizens to take advantage of new opportunities.

Nick Ebbs, the Chair of the Nottingham Growth Board, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic is the greatest challenge our society has faced since the Second World War. This year has been extremely challenging with widespread economic upheaval and hardship and loss endured by many.

“Over the past few months, the Nottingham Growth Board, One Nottingham and Nottingham City Council have been working together to assess the scale of economic damage and to plan for the future.

“The economy has changed in ways that, prior to the pandemic, would have been difficult to have imagined. Some of these changes may be short term, but others will have a much more fundamental impact. With a mass vaccination programme now in prospect we have an opportunity to rebuild our economy and society – and to do so in a greener, fairer and more sustainable way. The City has significant strengths, a creative DNA and a “can do” spirit that can make this happen.

“There is much we are doing already to support the local economy, the city’s people and businesses. By harnessing the energies and resources of the whole city, public and private and with support from Central Government much more can be achieved. The Economic Recovery and Renewal plan sets out clear ambitions and proposals that can set us on the path to sustainable recovery.”

Kevin Shakesheff, Chair of One Nottingham, said: “COVID-19 has highlighted many of the inequalities in our society, and we have seen unemployment rise as a result of the pandemic. Our plan will address this not just by creating jobs, but by providing local people with the training and skills that will enable them to take advantage of new opportunities in, for example, green industries and digital technology. We must ensure that no-one is left behind.”

Nottingham City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Finance, Growth and the City Centre, Cllr Sam Webster, said: “The Nottingham Growth Board partners have taken a long, hard look at Nottingham’s strengths and the areas where we can do more, to enable the city to really grow and prosper post-Covid.

“The pandemic has magnified some of the problems that were already emerging such as the need for a more sustainable model for the high street, and this plan helps us to focus on what we can do to get beyond those issues and forge a new future for Nottingham. At the end of a very difficult year for everyone, it brings much-needed hope and aspiration for the years ahead.”