The leader of Nottingham City Council has insisted the Broadmarsh is not “a sorry saga” after being quizzed by councillors about its demolition.
Concerns were raised by the Nottingham Independents and Conservative Group about the ongoing issues of demolishing the former shopping centre.
The Labour-run authority missed out on £20m of Government funding to demolish half of the site, which is equivalent to the size of Wembley Stadium.
The demolition is a key part of the council’s vision to attract developers and build ‘a mixed use’ scheme which could include housing, shops and some green space.
But ongoing financial problems at the authority, which includes nearly £1bn of debt, combined with the sudden collapse into administration of the site’s former operator, Intu, mean it is not in a position to pay for the work itself.
This led to the council deciding to submit the unsuccessful funding bid to Government.
It has already secured funding to demolish the western end of the shopping centre near to Maid Marian Way.
But it needed a £20m Government bid to demolish the rest of the site, and to help fit out the new Central Library, which is already built.
The council plans to submit a new bid next year, but concerns were raised by councillors about this move.
At a full council meeting on Monday, November 8, Cllr Andrew Rule (Con), leader of the opposition Conservative Group, and Cllr Kevin Clarke (independent), leader of the Independent Group, challenged the leader.
Cllr Clarke said it was important the council was not “reliant on government grants as the next application isn’t until April next year”.
Cllr Rule added: “Does the leader accept that success in future applications will be dependent upon a clear vision for the future of the site, beyond merely demolishing it.”
Cllr David Mellen (Lab) said: “We are disappointed the Broadmarsh was not successful. We will submit a bid in Spring. It is too important for the Government to ignore.
“The vision (for the site) will be available by the end of the year.”
He described it as ‘bold and ambitious’ but also an ‘achievable’ project.
He added: “It is not a sorry saga. It is not our fault Covid brought Intu into administration.
“We are not just reliant on grants. We are disposing sites we don’t need, to repay back our borrowing, but to create some capital to invest in such sites.”
He said the council is also exploring whether some of the Broadmarsh can be “re-used” rather than knocking it all down.