Nottingham City Council is poised to take action over a key development site in the city which its owner has failed to develop for years.
The council has drawn up a masterplan for the Island Site and is talking to potential developers as part of a soft market testing exercise to consider how the plan could be put into action if the Council acquires the site through a Compulsory Purchase Order.
The Island Site is a large and important strategic regeneration site between London Road and Manvers Street which has remained derelict and undeveloped for many years. The City Council has provided support and encouraged development, but the owner of the site has not made any meaningful progress towards developing it and planning permission granted in 2008 has now lapsed.
Now the council is preparing to move development of the 10.5 hectare site forward. The council has already developed a masterplan for the site adopted this April which proposes an employment-led, mixed use development including:
• More than 500 high-quality apartments
• 66,000 square metres of quality business space including grade A offices, research & development use and life-sciences expansion space
• Around 5,000 square metres of supporting commercial uses
• High quality public realm and a network of new and improved streets, cycle routes and footpaths
• Innovative re-use of the existing heritage assets of the Great Northern and James Alexander Warehouses
• Light industrial units.
The mixed use outlined in the masterplan helps the council realise its housing delivery targets and increase employment opportunities for Nottingham people, with an independent appraisal by the valuations agency showing a viable return. This helps to puts the council in a position to acquire the land, through a Compulsory Purchase Order if this proves necessary. The Council’s proposals could see the site developed in four phases over a 15 year period, with the first phase involving offices for life sciences, residential apartments and associated infrastructure.
The council has written to the site owner to ask for access to the site so that experts can assess the likely costs and viability of developing the land as set out in the masterplan, so that revisions can be made and an outline or hybrid planning application submitted. The council is also undertaking a soft market testing exercise, talking to developers who have previously expressed interest in the site.
Council Leader Councillor Jon Collins said: “We are determined to see this substantial site developed and after years of inaction and false dawns by the owners, we’re not prepared to wait any longer. This is a site which has huge potential to provide large, high quality business space which will help us appeal to potential investors, as well as helping to meet some of our housing needs. We’re already talking to potential developers about the best way of bringing this site forward for development.
“This process doesn’t prevent the owner from continuing with any talks with potential developers but it does mean that if all else fails, ultimately we will see the site developed, based on a sound business case.”