2023 will see the regeneration of Nottingham’s Southside continuing apace, despite the disappointing setback of £20m of Levelling Up Funding for part of the Broad Marsh vision not being granted by Government.

Work to start on Broad Marsh Green Heart

The Broad Marsh site itself will see work start on the Green Heart element of the scheme later this year – one of the most popular responses in the public consultation. This will see an area the size of the City Ground football pitch turned into a green urban park, complete with extensive planting and wetland/marsh areas, bringing nature into the heart of the city centre, along with walkways and what could be the longest bench in Europe. This will be created in the area where the western end of the former shopping centre has been demolished and cleared.

Masterplanning to provide detailed proposals in line with the overall vision will also take place this year, with a number of highly regarded contenders lining up to take on this vital and exciting work.

A major new study into rejuvenating the unique cave network underneath Broad Marsh and caves across the city centre is also due to be published by the University of Nottingham. And temporary uses for spaces to bring activity and businesses into the area will be progressed while the long-term development plans are being finalised.

Family-friendly public space and unique area for skateboarding

Linking to this are the streets immediately south of the shopping centre site. Work funded from a successful bid to the Government’s Transforming Cities fund will begin later this year turning Collin Street – previously a busy five-lane road through the city – into a pleasant family-friendly space with planting, seating and playable areas overlooked by the new library. Amphitheatre-style steps at the eastern end lead down to the area in front of the new Nottingham College building on Sussex Street, where more planting and seating have already transformed the space beneath the tram viaduct, which also now boasts a unique skateable space codesigned with local groups for skateboarders close to the City of Caves entrance and Nottingham Contemporary.

Work is continuing to extend the segregated cycle lane and improved pedestrian access through the Broadmarsh area along Canal Street and London Road, linking to the Island Quarter in the east and Castle Boulevard in the west.

New Central Library to open

The fit-out of the new Central Library as part of the bus station and car park complex will be completed later this year, complemented by the Transforming Cities-funded public realm improvements along Carrington Street leading up to Collin Street, and the reduction in traffic along Canal Street, with its new east-west cycle lane. The library will feature a high-quality children’s library with an immersive story telling room, extensive book collection and comfortable areas to sit and read, as well as a café and exhibition and performance space.

New buildings on Station Street

Further south, the new Domestic & General office on the pedestrianised section of Station Street is nearing completion, while student accommodation takes shape on the other side of Nottingham Station on Queen’s Road and Traffic Waterway Street.

Major Island Quarter development continues

The Island Quarter is a significant development site with a masterplan in place which also missed out on Levelling Up Funding – but developers Conygar are committed to delivering their vision for the site. A new canalside bar and restaurant along with public square and event space has already opened and plans for a new hotel, private apartments, offices and bioscience laboratories are in the pipeline. New student accommodation is also under construction.

Investment also continues elsewhere across the city, including developing a new library in Sherwood, improvements to Bulwell bus station, over 350 new affordable homes currently under construction around the city towards a target of 1,000, roads, pavements and streets lights in every part of the city benefiting from improvements and upgrades, along with wider transport investment.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “While the news about our Levelling Up bids was undoubtedly disappointing, there’s a lot to be positive about, not only in terms of what’s planned for this part of the city, but what we’ve already achieved. Arriving in the city from the station – itself and nearby Station Street improved a number of years ago – the two walking routes into the city centre are vastly improved, with Carrington Street and Sussex Street offering welcoming pedestrianised environments and the former barrier of Canal Street traffic reduced to buses, taxis and bikes.

“The stunning new car park and bus station are fully operational, while new Nottingham College building not only looks striking but also brings students and life to the area.

“This year will see our efforts continue apace. I’m excited to see the Green Heart start to take shape – the part of the Broad Marsh vision that most people said they want – and for more work to get underway to hone the vision into a deliverable blueprint for the whole site. Getting the new Central Library open and starting the new Collin Street public space plaza to link up the rest of the improved spaces will also be major milestones for the city this year.

“Elsewhere we can see private developers showing their confidence in Nottingham, with the vision for the Island Quarter taking shape and new offices and accommodation being added to the city skyline.”