The man in charge of planning the Broadmarsh redevelopment has said there is about to be a flurry of activity around the area as construction gets underway.
Nottingham City Council’s head of major projects said he understood why people were cynical after what he called “years of false dawns”, and that many people felt they would ‘believe it when they see it’, but that visible progress would soon start.
Preparation for the demolition of part of the shopping centre is expected to start next week, while contractors are due on site at the car park, bus station and library at the beginning of next month.
Once the foundations are finished – expected to be late summer – cranes will come in and the steel framework will start to go up.
Significant amounts of work are still ongoing behind the scenes at the shopping centre, including surveying and asbestos removal.
Chris Deas, director of major projects at the council, said there were a lot of moving parts to the development.
He said: “It’s good that it’s all taking place almost like a big bang, because that means the inevitable disruptive impact of construction is kept to a short time period.
“In all major projects, there’s a period where it looks like nothing is happening, but actually there’s a lot of paddling beneath the water.
“I think the public have been waiting for redevelopment in the Broadmarsh area for a generation, and quite rightly.
“I was brought up in Nottingham, and I’ve watched the decay of that part of the city. We’ve had various potential times when people like Westfield and others have come forward, and there have been false dawns.
“But now I know it’s happening, and I think very soon everybody will know it’s happening because they’ll see it.
“It will be quite disruptive, but at least it’s not spread over a lot of years, it’s a relatively small but intense period. Yes it’s disruptive, but it’s going to have such a fantastic impact on the city. It’s a really exciting time for the city.”
He said several businesses had already confirmed their places in the new shopping centre, and “a large number” had expressed an interest.
He said: “The Victoria Centre is the traditional shopping centre, the Broadmarsh is going to be more of an experience where you come for longer than just nipping to a shop to buy some trousers or whatever.
“It’s a destination place, not just a 10am until 6pm shopping centre, it’s a 10am until 12am place for family-type activity.”
Mr Deas said the decision to add the library to the project, which was approved in December, had delayed the final completion date, but said it was a chance to significantly improve the overall scheme.
He added: “Delay is a simple word to use, but it isn’t about a delay it’s about taking the opportunity of bringing the library in, which we did.
“We’re going to redevelop the old library site (in Angel Row) and that gave us the opportunity practically and also financially to do it.
“It is delayed, but actually expanding the programme is what we’ve done.”
The bus station, car park and library are now expected to be finished in early 2021, and the shopping centre in summer 2021.