Once an unwelcome sight on entering the city from Nottingham’s bus and rail stations, construction at the council’s new Broadmarsh development and the streets around it means the entrance to the city has already started to become a more welcoming one in 2020.

Great progress has been made on transforming the area this year, with the car park building taking shape, work well underway to completely change the look, feel and use of the surrounding streets and heritage improvements to shop frontages in the area. The new Nottingham College Hub is also completed at the eastern end of the area, while to the west Nottingham Castle’s transformation is almost finished.

The council’s new six-storey Broadmarsh development was “topped out,” meaning it reached its full official height, which was marked at a ceremony in February 2020. Since then, the steel and concrete structure has had cladding, glazing and solar panels installed, giving a real sense of what the completed development will look like. Once finished, it will provide a central, modern car park and bus station, new retail outlets and the location for the proposed new library.

As Covid-19 hit, contractors Galliford Try were able to adapt to Covid-safe working practices and continue construction with only minimal loss of time, meaning the building is on course to open by summer 2021. The car park will include over 1,250 spaces, including charging points for electric vehicles and capacity to install more in the future, while the bus station will serve passengers travelling across the city, county and country, along with new retail spaces, and will provide a convenient stop for new students at Nottingham College’s City Hub, due to fully open in early 2021.

Huge changes are underway in the surrounding streets. Collin Street and Canal Street have been closed to general traffic, allowing public realm improvements to take place. Once complete, people will enter a new, greener pedestrian-friendly space, with Collin Street and the top half of Carrington Street completely reimagined as pleasant public spaces and Canal Street traffic limited to buses, taxis and bikes. Public realm works are progressing on Sussex Street, under the tram viaduct, and will carry on through the Broadmarsh area throughout 2021, adding more welcoming and pedestrian-friendly green space connecting development sites including the college, car park and castle as well as bus and rail stations. The Broadmarsh Big Conversation will give people a voice on how to redevelop the major space currently occupied by the Broadmarsh Centre to further enhance this part of the city centre.

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “It’s been a difficult year for everyone, so seeing major projects like the Broadmarsh Car Park and surrounding streets take shape in a safe way and at what seems to be rapid pace has been really welcome. With the cladding going on and the City Hub near completion, I think people are beginning to see the consideration we’ve had for the historic Lace Market in our design work of the new Broadmarsh area, ensuring our new and historic areas fit seamlessly together.

“The old car park certainly wasn’t befitting of our city and two very busy streets created a very unwelcome barrier to the city centre.

“Soon we will have a great new building and streets that were once filled with cars and fumes turned into pleasant public spaces with plants and trees. This shows our ambitions for creating a better city centre for everyone to enjoy and will complement whatever new uses we find through our Big Conversation for the Broadmarsh Centre site.”