A bid for over £40m of Government funding towards further redevelopment of the Broad Marsh and The Island Quarter sites have received backing from a range of politicians and captains of industry.

The city has put forward a bid for the Levelling Up Fund set up by the Government to fund major regional infrastructure projects that can make a real difference to local communities by creating jobs and opportunities for people and businesses.

Nottingham has submitted a bid for two major projects – asking for £20m towards the next phase of preparing the Broad Marsh shopping centre site for complete redevelopment, along with £20m towards the ongoing development of The Island Quarter. Both are among the largest city centre regeneration sites in the UK, presenting huge opportunities for major investment, new jobs and fresh ways to boost the local economy. The City Council has also submitted a bid for a further £18m from the fund for citywide transport improvements.

The city’s three MPs, along with the Leaders of Nottinghamshire and Broxtowe councils, and senior bosses at Experian, Boots, BioCity, East Midlands Chamber, the Local Enterprise Partnership, both universities and Nottingham College, among others, have joined the City Council’s Leader and Chief Executive, Cllr David Mellen and Mel Barrett, in signing a letter to Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Communities and Housing, Michael Gove, and his ministers, urging them to support the bid.

In it, they set out the compelling reasons for both bids to receive Government backing. On Broad Marsh, they outline how the site presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reinvent and reimagine the city post-pandemic and the widespread support for its redevelopment, with expert input from designer Thomas Heatherwick and the Broad Marsh advisory group. They explain how transforming Broad Marsh will unlock jobs and investment and allow the city to flourish while also contributing towards Nottingham’s goal to become a carbon neutral city by 2028.

Additional public funding such as the Levelling Up money would help to complete the work already underway on site and act as catalyst to secure private investment to help fully realise the huge potential and opportunity of Broad Marsh, the letter says.

It points out that The Island Quarter is another major Nottingham development, with over two million square feet of mixed use development planned on the edge of the city centre, set to extend the central business district and create up to 4,000 jobs, which deserves the Government’s financial support.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “The signatories of this letter, and many more people in our city, can clearly see that both Broad Marsh and The Island Quarter represent opportunities to deliver what the Levelling Up Fund sets out to achieve – supporting investment in infrastructure that can make a real difference to local communities.

“Our region has seen the lowest level of public investment of any region in the UK and so we hope the Government agrees that our ambitions for Broad Marsh and The Island Quarter embody what Levelling Up is all about. The scale and significance of the Broad Marsh project alongside the Island Quarter can help to significantly raise the profile of Nottingham as a Core City nationally and internationally and be a catalyst to generate and increase investment and prosperity across the whole city, the county and wider region, spreading the benefits to more of our people.”

Robert Ware, CEO of Conygar Investment Company PLC, which is currently progressing on phase 1A Canal Turn at The Island Quarter, said: “We are not just supporting, but partnering, Nottingham City Council in this bid for the Levelling Up Fund. The fund will mean a great deal to The Island Quarter, allowing us to accelerate our building programme and will ensure the city can rise from the pandemic, proud and successful – bringing jobs, homes and opportunities, and boosting the local economy.

“Our 36-acre £1 billion development is vital for Nottingham, and alongside the Broad Marsh development will bring tremendous opportunity to the city. We are urging everyone to back the Nottingham bid and we are, with the City Council, campaigning for support.

“Government should not forget mid-sized cities like Nottingham – they are central to realising the aspirations of the Levelling Up agenda. With the backing of ambitious private sector developers like ourselves, this core city can and will make the most of itself – and won’t be overlooked again.” 

Further comments from some of the bid’s backers:

Chief Executive of East Midlands Chamber, Scott Knowles, said: “Nottingham City Council’s Levelling Up Bid seeks support for two vitally important regeneration schemes in the heart of the city that will has a long lasting transformative effect on the city, its residents and the business community. This investment will act as a beacon for further investment from the private sector and subsequently the creation of thousands of new jobs and ensuring the city centre’s future prosperity.”

Director of Nottingham UNESCO City of Literature, Sandeep Mahal, said: “We are proud to back the city’s bid to the Levelling Up Fund and the enormous opportunity if offers to set a vision for the future prosperity of the City. The Levelling Up Fund offers huge potential for attracting investment and growth that will in turn transform the lives of people in Nottingham, create jobs in the area and showcase the talent and creativity that our UNESCO Creative City has to offer. 

“Nottingham is an ambitious, young and diverse city with a culture of grassroots collaboration and a rich heritage of rebellious innovation.  As a UNESCO Creative City of Literature, Nottingham is important, not just locally and regionally, but also on the global stage; working to harness the power of creativity to build a better, more sustainable, more equitable world.”

Founder & CEO of Switch Up and the Nottingham School of Boxing, Marcellus Baz, said: “The success of both schemes is incredibly important not only to the economic prospects of Nottingham but to the bright future of the disadvantaged young people I support in the city.

“Seeing these significant regeneration projects realised with the support of the Levelling Up Fund will provide them with opportunities for employment as well as giving them a sense of pride in where they live. This feeling of being part of the community will drive their aspirations to contribute and make Nottingham a fantastic place to learn, work, and live.”

Experian’s Global Head of Social Innovation & UK & Head of Corporate Responsibility, Richard Donovan, said: “At Experian we are proud of the deep roots we have here in the East Midlands. As a leading employer in the region, we recognise the importance of transforming the Broad Marsh and Island quarter in supporting the economic development of the city and inspiring the next generation of talent within our local communities.”

Executive Director of BioCity, Toby Reid, said: “Nottingham is an exciting city full of potential but for too long the two sites of Broad Marsh and Island Quarter have blotted the cityscape, masking the ambition and thwarting the city’s ability to fulfil its potential. The private sector can play its part, but nothing catalyses activity and drives confidence in a development like public sector support.”