The long-awaited creation of a welcoming entrance to the city from the south will begin in early August 2020, with new images showing the scale of change the public can look forward to.

The exciting new green, pedestrian-friendly public space for the city centre – involving the most significant changes to a city centre road layout for 15 years – is being funded through the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund, approved by Nottingham City Council’s Executive Board last week for Nottingham and Derby and D2N2, the Local Enterprise Partnership. The scheme has attracted over £20m of Government funding and the traffic changes will come into effect on the weekend of 8-9 August. Once complete, these major works will see:

  • Collin Street closed to all traffic
  • Canal Street, between Middle Hill and Greyfriar Gate, become a two-way restricted area for buses and wheelchair accessible taxis
  • The Greyfriar Gate junction modified to accommodate both north and southbound traffic, linking Maid Marian Way with Wilford Street, Canal Street and Castle Boulevard
  • Middle Hill become two-way from Canal Street to enable access into the Lace Market.

The changes will support plans to improve the city’s walking and cycling connectivity post-COVID pandemic, providing more routes through the city centre and better connecting the city centre to the wider Nottingham area. Preparatory works are currently underway on Greyfriar Gate to facilitate Collin Street’s closure in August and details of the works will be fully communicated as they progress.

Drivers normally using these routes to travel west to east and east to west will instead be directed to use the Southern Relief Route, which runs from London Road to Wilford Street past Nottingham Station. The City Council is confident this route can handle the traffic demands, as it did when Canal Street was closed to traffic in Summer 2019 while major gas works were carried out.

Southern Relief Route Map from London Road to Castle Boulevard

What the changes will create

The redevelopment of the whole Broadmarsh area will drastically improve the city centre once completed, with a new Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station, Central Library, Nottingham Castle visitor experience and Nottingham College City Hub and reimagined public realm, along with a new intu Broadmarsh development, currently paused due to the impact of Covid-19.

The new Broadmarsh Car Park and Bus Station, due to open in 2021, is already changing the city centre for the better, with cladding work underway as a marked improvement to the previous Car Park and Bus Station building, with a new Central Library and retail outlets also due to open on Carrington Street in 2021.

Artist’s impression of Collin Street, looking towards Nottingham Castle

These schemes will create an open, vibrant, welcoming space to the city for anyone arriving by bus, tram, train, car, bike or on foot. The new spaces and traffic reduction will deliver vastly improved pedestrian environments and will include dedicated cycle facilities on Canal Street. The work will also provide a great new public space between the new college, shopping centre, Nottingham Central Library and Nottingham Castle, with spaces for outdoor seating, food and drink in Carrington Street and areas for children to play creating a better atmosphere to sit and dwell during the day.

This will mean the areas connecting these major new developments can be turned into a bright, tree-lined space with high quality paving with landscaping, public art, and outdoor cafés, transforming them into safe and attractive spaces for people to enjoy. Views to the Castle will be preserved, with new places for people to sit and relax, space for art boxes and words in the paving, celebrating both the new Central Library and Nottingham’s status as a UNESCO City of Literature, included as part of the design.

The Sussex Street area, between Middle Hill and the new Nottingham College City Hub, has been inaccessible and unwelcoming for some time, and will be transformed into a brighter, amphitheatre style space, with steps from Middle Hill to Sussex Street and an environment where people can relax and play, with new spaces for activity and exercise for young people, including skateboarding. These public spaces will be capable of hosting major events in the day and night, helping to further boost the city’s reputation for hosting top-class entertainment and activities.

Work to improve the historic frontages on Carrington Street under the City Council’s Townscape Heritage scheme will improve the facades of these buildings in time for new retail units to open on the ground floor of the Broadmarsh Car Park building on Carrington Street.

Nottingham was in the midst of change long before the COVID-19 pandemic, with ambitions to become a carbon neutral city by 2028. Central to the Southside transformation has been the re-routing of city centre traffic away from Collin Street and Canal Street to create a fantastic new entrance to the city and welcoming pedestrian space. This has been done previously in the city at Old Market Square, Trinity Square, Station Street, Lister Gate and Upper Parliament Street, creating better spaces for people to relax and browse what Nottingham city centre has to offer.

What councillors say

Councillor David Mellen, Leader of the City Council, said: “The City Council has long been committed to a transformation of the Broadmarsh area to extend the city centre southwards, creating a fantastic new public space for residents of Nottingham and visitors to the city. While we are continuing to find a way forward for intu Broadmarsh, it’s important that we move ahead with the rest of our exciting and transformational plans for the area. These plans are radical in how they change the roads and will take a little while to get used to, but I am certain that our plans for this new area will be greeted enthusiastically.

“We have heard what people have said about wanting more greenery in the city centre and have committed to this with green space proposals throughout Carrington Street, Collin Street and Middle Hill, and a beautiful new space between the Sussex Street entrance to intu Broadmarsh and the new Nottingham College site and less traffic in the area contributing to a more pleasant and healthier environment. I am pleased these plans have attracted the Government’s backing from its Transforming Cities Fund. Our plans for the entire Broadmarsh area kickstarted our £2 billion ambitions for the Southside area, with new developments underway or forthcoming at Unity Square, City Buildings, the Island Quarter and at Broadmarsh West.

“This is a truly exciting time for Nottingham and these changes will transform Nottingham for the better, creating economic growth, jobs and attracting more visitors to the city.”

Councillor Adele Williams, Portfolio Holder for Public Transport, said: “These are dramatic changes to the roads in Nottingham – but all for the better to meet our carbon neutral targets and to create a great new environment for local residents and visitors to the city. The location of the Bus Station, close to Nottingham Station and tram stops, is a key location for this city and will provide excellent connectivity for citizens and visitors. The changes also significantly improve people’s ability to enjoy and cross the city centre by bike or on foot.

“Local people have been incredibly patient while we undertake these transformations, and the changes in the area already show that our plans are drastically improving the Broadmarsh area. We are letting people know about these changes as early as possible to keep the public informed so they can begin to plan their journeys better with these changes in mind – changes which I can’t wait to be completed given the improvements it will bring to our city centre.”