Saturday 23 October 2021
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Concerns at University plans to demolish 19th Century Nottingham townhouses and build nine-storey art school

Residents have expressed concerns over plans from Nottingham Trent University to build a nine-storey School of Art and Design in a historic part of the city.


The university wants to demolish three nineteenth century townhouses and build the new School of Art and Design on the junction of Shakespeare Street with North and South Sherwood Street.

The university says it will bring more than 100 jobs to the city and will become a school that will be acknowledged on the national and international stage.

The buildings due for demolition were in use as Nottingham’s YWCA, but more recently have been in various uses including a hostel, pharmacy, and student accommodation before being bought by the university in November 2018.

The buildings are currently vacant.

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The new nine-storey building will bring together film, animation, gaming design, graphic design and illustration with a space to showcase students work.

Neighbours have raised concerns about the development. including its height and the effect it will have on the area as a whole.

In comments submitted as part of the application process, one said: “It is too tall and will affect the ability of residents of Matlock Court of having a reasonable quality of life.”

Another added: “Consider that the height and sheer mass of the proposed building would be a gross overdevelopment of the plot, where there are so many alternative sites that are crying out for a development of this kind.

“If this is built, I will lose my view of the city and will be overlooked by a large, oppressive building that will also set a worrying precedent for future developments on sites on North Sherwood Street surrounding my home.”

Another said: “Whilst I welcome progress on the redevelopment of these long-empty buildings, I strongly feel that the application to construct a nine-storey building is excessive.”

Nottingham Civic Society has also objected to the development and believes it will damage the character of the conservation area and Grade II listed buildings, including the former Synagogue (University Hall) and the Grade II listed former Registry Office at 50 Shakespeare Street.

The society says the building’s design does not fit in with the mix of Victorian buildings and the Gothic or classically inspired architecture of the area.

Historic England also stated: “The scheme proposes to replace existing historic buildings with a nine-storey tower.

“The proposed demolition and replacement of the extant historic buildings at 40-42 Shakespeare Street will comprise harm to the significance of key highly graded listed buildings through loss to their historic streetscape setting and relative status, and through loss to the overall character of the Arboretum conservation area.”

Nottingham Trent University has defended the application, and says it will bring major benefits to the city including new jobs.

It says: “The School of Art and Design proposals represent a committed circa £35 million investment directly into the heart of the city.

“An estimate potential of 144 additional general employees. Potential occupancy of 300-400 staff, with an additional 107 academic staff jobs in addition to those currently within the school.

“The creation of highly-skilled technical jobs and direct opportunity for the new school to increase and improve skills in the key economic priority areas of creative technology, including collaboration with industry.

“The provision of a space to celebrate art practice and champion it within Nottingham, regionally, nationally and internationally.”

Planning officers at Nottingham City Council are proposing that councillors grant planning permission.

They said significant effort has been made to ensure that the design and the appearance of the development is “both worthy of the site and area, being part of its local community of buildings as much as being a significant landmark development within the city as a whole”.

Officers have noted residents’ concerns and said that the revised submission has improved the design quality to one of an “exceptional standard”.

Councillors are set to meet at Loxley House to decide the application on Wednesday, October 20.