Thursday 18 April 2024
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Broad Marsh vision takes a step forward with new experts appointed

The transformation of the Broad Marsh site is taking a step forward with the appointment of experts to support the next stage of turning an exciting vision into reality.


The site of the former shopping centre presents a unique opportunity for the city to create something special, with a vision for how it could change drawn up by the Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group, led by acclaimed urban designer Thomas Heatherwick.

Key elements of the vision are:

• Reinstating many of Nottingham’s lost streets

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• A wildlife-rich green space in the heart of the city centre

• Over 750 new homes

• New commercial and mixed use buildings, helping to create 3,000 jobs

• Retaining some of the structural frame of the shopping centre to create a new recreational space

• Rejuvenating the city’s unique cave network, with a new entrance and a new hotel above.

Now the City Council is appointing three experts – a Master Planner, Development Manager and Advisor – to assess the vision in detail to understand what can be delivered.

The appointments will be funded from the council’s capital receipts – funding it has brought in through the sale of its property assets.

City Council Leader, Cllr David Mellen, said: “We are keen to continue progress on the Broad Marsh site, moving from a vision that we unveiled at the end of last year, to a master plan for this site which is full of opportunities for Nottingham.

“This requires support and it is at this stage that we are bringing in the skills of a Master Planner and other experts to help us progress this exciting project. This will help us put a strong submission in for Levelling Up funding from Government.

“This site now presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to create something unique and special for Nottingham, which will complement the work that’s already underway to transform this part of the city.

“People can already see reimagined pedestrian-friendly streets and public spaces, heritage-led improvements and a new car park and bus station – with work on fitting out the new Central Library expected to begin soon. We have demolished a large part of the former shopping centre, part of which will be developed into a new public space linking the Broad Marsh area with the city centre.”

About the development 

Nottingham’s independent Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group, established by Nottingham City Council in March 2021, published its Vision and recommendations for one of the most significant City Centre development sites in the UK and the “once in many generations” opportunity for Nottingham to lead the way in city centre regeneration following the impacts of Covid-19 and online retailing.

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• New Vision re-imagines centre as cities around the world still reeling from devastation of Covid-19 and growth of online retailing

• Proposed development set to deliver 6,000 jobs, over 400,000 sq ft of commercial and business space and 750 homes –

• Frame of derelict shopping centre to be retained, reimagined and rewilded into unique space to bring people together in the City –

• Nottingham’s unique cave network rejuvenated to boost tourism and world heritage status –

• “In the fog of Covid-19, Nottingham has seized the opportunity to create a new blueprint for the future of City centres” Thomas Heatherwick

The unique 20 acre site includes the former, part demolished Broadmarsh shopping centre which was handed back to Nottingham City Council when Intu went into administration at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Nottingham City Council set up an independent Advisory Group to build on the Council’s successful ‘Big Conversation’ consultation to reimagine the derelict Broadmarsh shopping centre. Heatherwick Studio, led by the world-renowned and highly-acclaimed British designer Thomas Heatherwick, and Stories, a leading socially responsible development company, were commissioned to work with the Advisory Group on the creative Vision for the City Centre site and advise on how Nottingham can deliver the project.

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The Advisory Group believes the new Vision published today gives Nottingham a “once in many generations” opportunity given the size, scale and position of the site and would offer

social and economic opportunity to Nottingham on an unprecedented and historic scale.

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The development, which the Advisory Group thinks will take ten years to fully deliver, will generate 3,000 jobs in the build and 3,000 new jobs once development is complete and create more than 750 new homes and over 400,000 sq ft of high end business and office space.

The key elements of the Vision:

  • Rebuilding The Lost Connections. The vision aims to reinstate many of Nottingham’s lost street connections and rebuild them for the future of the City, reconnecting the whole of the centre, both physically and with its history.
  • A New Green Heart. At the heart of the Vision is the creation of a new ‘Green Heart’ for the City Centre. This wildlife-rich green space, which will permeate the whole site and weave in and out of the Frame, will aim to create a beautiful, tranquil core to the City. It will be set within 3.5 hectares of common ground – high quality public realm that permeates the zones across the 20 acre site.

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  • Living by the Nottingham Castle. On the west side of the site, looking up at Nottingham Castle and just yards from the Robin Hood statue, the Vision creates over 750 new homes. Located within walking distance of the train station, these would be prime location homes in the heart of the City.
  • Work by the New Green Heart. To create an engine room for the City’s growth aspirations, the Vision includes new commercial and mixed use buildings, creating high end business and office space, including conference space, and high quality ground floor retail. The buildings will have the capacity to accommodate over 3,000 jobs.

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  • The retention of ‘The Frame’. The creative response from Heatherwick Studio, and endorsed by the Advisory Group, is to keep some of the structural frame of the Broadmarsh shopping centre and give it new life and meaning. Inside the Frame, the Vision creates a space like no other, totally unique to the City. Under the key themes of play, performance and food, it could provide a place with a diverse range of uses that brings people together.

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  • Sleep Above The Caves in a new Art Hotel. The Vision proposes to rejuvenate Nottingham’s unique Cave network creating a new entrance and transforming the existing Severns House into a hotel, providing the opportunity for tourists to sleep right above the caves and forming part of a new heritage and culture trail through the City centre.BroadMarsh Still Caves scaled


  • The Advisory Group has also given advice on the delivery of the Vision over the next decade. Their recommendations include:

• Nottingham City Council should act as the custodians of the site, pursuing a long- term leadership role and working with public and private sector partners to help deliver the vision.

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  • Nottingham City Council advised to establish a delivery ‘vehicle’ with the responsibility and skills to attract public and private investment. The new body, provisionally called ‘The Broad Marsh Development Partnership’, should have the sole responsibility and accountability for the critical delivery functions
  • New body advised to place early emphasis on ‘meanwhile use’ and getting innovative local organisations to be the early adopters of the site, opening parts of the site quickly, building momentum and stimulating interest.
  • The Advisory Group believes the next stage of the project, lasting 2-3 years, will require around £5-6million of investment, and that the priority should be demolition, masterplanning, legal work on title, and preparation to take the Vision to the private and public sector markets.

The Advisory Group advises that the return on investment would be “unprecedented in the City’s history”. A physical development worth in the region of £500 million, and the creation of jobs, new homes, new commercial space, increased tourism and hotel spend, business relocation and increased footfall in the City.

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Nottingham City Council has backed the Vision and asked the Advisory Group to continue its work and advise on the formal setting up of the delivery partnership, in March.

Thomas Heatherwick said: “The challenge of what to do with the former Broadmarsh shopping centre has been a chance to think about the failure of our city centres. They should be about bringing people together, not just about retail. Rather than demolish the structure, we are proposing to keep the frame and breathe new life into it, creating a place that can hold the diversity and vibrancy that is so lacking from many city centres. The aim is to bridge between generations, communities, and cultures so that the new Broad Marsh can reflect the true diversity of the city.

Revealed: Vision to reimagine Nottingham city centre and old Broadmarsh shopping centre


“In the fog of Covid-19, Nottingham has seized the opportunity to create a new blueprint for the future of City centres.”

Independent Chair of the Greater Broad Marsh Advisory Group, Greg Nugent said: “Out of the adversity of the collapse of Intu comes a chance for Nottingham to build a new kind of City Centre. Thomas Heatherwick’s vision creates a blueprint for a City that wants to reinvent itself, ready for life beyond Covid-19.”

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David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said: “I would like to thank the Advisory Board, Heatherwick Studio and the team at Stories for their creativity, hard work and ambition. When Heatherwick Studio was commissioned to create a new vision for Broad Marsh, there were some key things I was keen for it to include. I think Thomas and his team have delivered on all of them. They have clearly listened to the feedback from the Big Conversation and captured the wide range of views and ideas put forward in what was the Council’s biggest engagement exercise to date. They have used the extensive footprint of Broad Marsh to ensure the Vision provides something for everyone.

“It includes a substantial green space via a ‘green heart’ at the centre of the vision. It will lead to over 750 homes and 6,000 jobs for local people. By proposing to make some use of the existing frame, reducing the waste and carbon emissions from new construction, it is sustainable, something which is very important for the city’s ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city by 2028. And it respects and promotes the city’s rich heritage by opening up views to the Castle, enhancing the Caves, one of the city’s hidden gems, and re- establishing old street patterns.

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“Now we will begin the important work necessary to test the new Vision and our ability to realise it. We have said all along that this isn’t something the Council can or would want to do on its own. We will continue to work with colleagues on the Advisory Group to develop a Masterplan for the space and secure the investment needed from public and private sector partners. This will take time to get right but people will see major changes soon with the opening up of the area between Collin Street through to Lister Gate as part of the creation of the ‘Green Heart’.”

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The ‘Green Heart’ at the centre of the site could create 1 hectare of new green space, set within a 3.4 hectares of common ground across the whole site. Paul Wilkinson, Chief Executive of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust commented: “Almost exactly a year ago, the Wildlife Trust put forward a bold idea of the Broadmarsh reimagined as wildlife- rich greenspace to support nature’s recovery and enable people living and working in the city centre to connect with nature on their doorstep. Given the public support for our ideas we’re pleased to have had the opportunity to feed into the creative process to illustrate how a nature first approach could underpin the City’s carbon neutral ambitions and address social inclusion.

“We are delighted that wildlife-rich greenspace is integral to the Advisory Group’s vision for transforming the site and as a catalyst for a more sustainable approach for regenerating our city. As we face up to the ecological and climate crises the prospect of wildlife habitat and greenspaces being woven across a much wider footprint than the former shopping centre itself is particularly exciting and we would welcome the opportunity to work with Nottingham City Council on the next phase to ensure the green vision is delivered.”

Members of the Advisory Group who have given their time, expertise and insight for free praised the process and outlined their excitement for what the Vision could achieve for Nottingham.

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