The Leader of Nottingham City Council has vowed that the regeneration of Nottingham will continue despite the big disappointment of the Government failing to back the city’s bids for Levelling Up funding for Broad Marsh, Bulwell and the Island Quarter.
Nottingham had submitted three bids to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund, but heard that none had been successful despite strong cases being made for national funding.
The £20m Broad Marsh bid was focused on a key element of the vision, to prepare the
frame of the derelict shopping centre to be retained and reimagined as a unique space for play, performance and food, providing a catalyst for private sector partners to invest in the wider project.
The £20m Bulwell town centre bid was to create a new Bulwell Promenade through substantial enhancements of green space and public realm alongside the River Leen.
It also included improvements to the market place and urban greening; the restoration of heritage buildings and easier access and better connectivity between Bulwell Bogs, the tram stop, bus station, the market place and high streets.
The £17m Island Quarter bid, submitted on behalf of developers Conygar, focused on renovating three heritage warehouse buildings at the heart of the 36-acre site near to Nottingham Station.
It would have brought the buildings back into productive use providing a community open theatre, creative and digital studio space as well as improving access for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicle users with an upgraded junction connecting the site to the Sneinton community.
Council Leader Cllr David Mellen said the Government’s decision not to support any of Nottingham’s bids to the Levelling Up Fund is a big disappointment but vowed to continue to work with partners to secure investment in the city’s ongoing regeneration.
Councillor Mellen said: “All three Nottingham bids were very strong and clearly aligned to what the Levelling Up Fund is meant to be about. So it’s a big disappointment that all of them have been turned down for Levelling Up funding, which Nottingham so clearly needs.
“There has been a huge support for the exciting new vision for Broad Marsh we unveiled just over a year ago which was based on feedback received from the Big Conversation, the largest public engagement exercise we had ever undertaken.
“Work on the Green Heart, which was a key element of the vision and something many people wanted to see, will still get underway this year using national funding we have already secured. We will continue our public realm improvements in the area, which are also funded from a different Government pot, as well as complete the fit-out of the new Central Library later this year.
“Anyone visiting the area today can see that a huge transformation has already taken place and with more to come – especially the Green Heart which I think is going to be a hugely exciting, popular and welcome addition to our city centre – there’s still a lot to be positive about.
“The Levelling Up bid was for work to retain and re-use the Frame of the old shopping centre which is just one aspect of a wider vision for the whole site. It is still an element we want to include and we will explore alternative public and private funding options so that the whole vision can be realised.”
Councillor Mellen went on to comment on the other two bids which the Government chose to reject.
He said: “The Bulwell project would have helped to transform the town centre while the Island Quarter bid would have brought three derelict but landmark buildings on the site back into use. This week we started work on redeveloping Bulwell bus station which will bring some improvement to the town but clearly there was much more we wanted to do to help rejuvenate the town centre.
“Conygar still have exciting plans for the Island Quarter, with a new canalside bar and restaurant already open, work underway on new student accommodation and proposals for a hotel, private apartments, offices including a planning application for a new bioscience building and public spaces in the pipeline.”