Nottingham City Council still needs to find enough cash to carry out essential work at the Broad Marsh shopping centre site so it can promote its new vision to outside investors.
A vision for the half-demolished site was revealed last year after months of public consultation but question marks hang over when it will come to fruition.
The council needs to find some of the £6m it needs for site master planning and legal work to take the vision to the private and public sector markets.
One opposition leader said that the people of Nottingham are “absolutely sick of it” and called the current situation “a cock up.”
The new plans for the Broad Marsh were revealed by an advisory board set up by the council after the former Broad Marsh operators, intu, went bust in 2020.
The site, which was supposed to house a new cinema, bowling alley and restaurants, was then handed back to the council in a half-demolished state.
Led by Nottingham Project’s Greg Nugent and acclaimed designer Thomas Heatherwick, the new vision was hailed by those involved as ‘magical.’
The plan includes dividing the site – the size of Wembley Stadium – into zones with the potential to create 750 homes with views of Nottingham Castle, an art hotel next to Nottingham Contemporary and 400,000 square feet of business space to create up to 6,000 jobs.
Nottingham Caves would have a completely new entrance to raise its profile as a key tourist destination and there would be a green space at the heart of the development.
The former frame of the derelict shopping centre would be kept and could be used to house a music venue, food outlets, a skate park, and a potential Tate Nottingham gallery.
The design also aims to open key routes around the city which were lost due to the former shopping centre’s position and allow Nottingham Station to be better linked to Old Market Square.
The council lost out on a £20m government Levelling Up bid in October – some of the money would have been spent on demolishing the rest of the shopping centre.
It plans to submit a new bid in the spring now that a vision has been drawn up for the site.
The council says it has secured cash for the public realm improvements around the Broad Marsh (from part of the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund) and demolition of the western side of the shopping centre from Maid Marian Way (from D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership.)
But it still needs to find some of the £6m to ensure essential work is complete to promote the site to private investors to make the vision a reality.
A council spokesman said: “We already have resources from the Local Enterprise Partnership D2N2 and the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund that we are utilising for early elements of first stage delivery and are actively bidding for additional external public funding with a view to securing private sector investment in the future.
“We have funding in place to carry out some of the preliminary legal, masterplanning and public realm work.
“Up to £6m is a rough estimate but the work we are undertaking now will identify more accurately the scheme that’s proposed to be delivered and therefore the level of funding that’s needed.
“This will help determine the funding we seek from the Levelling Up Fund and other public funding opportunities.”
Cllr Kevin Clarke, opposition leader of Nottingham Independents, said: “They can’t get any external funding at the moment.
“This has not been very well thought out. It is a cock-up. People in Nottingham are absolutely sick of it. It is another thing they have got in to without sorting out their finances first. I think they will find the money from somewhere.”
Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of the council, previously said: “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’.”