Tuesday 16 July 2024
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New play area opens on Collin Street as part of the Broad Marsh regeneration plans

A new urban play space has opened outside the new Central Library, as part of the regeneration of the Broad Marsh area.

The play space, which is on Collin Street, features specially designed swings, a play trail with timber stepping blocks, balancing walkways, a seesaw and green planting.

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This new play space is part of a Playable Cities Initiative to create child-friendly spaces in the city centre.

Which all supports the city’s journey to become a UNICEF Child Friendly City.

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Local school children were consulted on the design, creating the swings and seating so the space can be somewhere families can gather and spend time together.


Pupils from Welbeck Primary school helped to open the new play area with a ribbon cutting alongside the Leader of Nottingham City Council, Cllr David Mellen on Friday 8 March 2024.

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Wider Broad Marsh regeneration

Collin Street is the latest piece of the wider Broad Marsh public realm redevelopment, all of which has been designed and developed by Townshend Landscape Architects with consultancy Pick Everard collaborating and Willmott Dixon doing the construction.

As well as the new play space, Collin Street is now fully open for people to walk through, with a traffic-free route connecting the Green Heart, where construction work has started, and Lister Gate, with the new green public space on Sussex Street next to Nottingham College, which features a mini amphitheatre, a skateable space and a multi-use games area.

© westbridgfordwire.com Listergate's tree-lined avenue from Broad Marsh area
© westbridgfordwire.com
Listergate’s tree-lined avenue from Broad Marsh area

The Broad Marsh regeneration has already seen the development of a new Central Library, Car Park and Bus Station, well as a new Nottingham College city hub, which has transformed streets and public spaces in the area by increasing footfall, particularly supporting businesses on Lister Gate.

Recently, it was revealed that a new state-of-the-art Community Diagnostic Centre will be located on the Broad Marsh regeneration site and will be run and staffed by Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust. The CDC will be a one-stop shop which support GPs by providing direct access to diagnostics services such as MRI, CT, x-ray, ultrasound, echocardiography, ECG, and lung function testing.


Cllr David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council, said:

“I am pleased we have finished work on the play area outside of the new Central Library, creating a child-friendly destination that families will want to come and spend time in.

“Collin Street used to be four lanes of busy traffic and now it’s completely shut to cars, giving people a safe way to walk from Middle Hill to what will be the new Broad Marsh Green Heart.

“The idea is that families can come and enjoy themselves in our fantastic new Central Library, a centre that puts children and young people at the heart of its design. It is a destination venue for families, who will now be able to head outside the front doors to a safe Collin Street, where children can play and enjoy themselves.”

Gary Alden, Senior Associate, Townshend Landscape Architects, said:

“Putting playable spaces into a city centre location was a key consideration for the design of this space. It was important that the space felt inclusive, and for children’s needs to be considered as part of a city’s landscape. Urban swings are a great way in engaging all ages, creating a place that is ‘playable’ for all.”

Nick Heath, Director at Willmott Dixon, said:

“With an office located in Nottingham City Centre, we’re pleased to be part of this exciting regeneration scheme, helping to revitalise the area and give it back to local people for their enjoyment.

“The pedestrianisation of Collin Street is an important step in creating a safe space for people of all ages to enjoy, and it will also help to improve connectivity between Nottingham’s different quarters.”

As well as opening the new play area, a special film all about the importance of play was shown to local school children just before the ribbon cutting.

The short film, called Blue Bell Hill Games was filmed by Georgianna Scurfield and Todd Franklin, who worked with researchers, Prof Chris Hall and Rick Hall and Year 6 children at Blue Bell Hill Primary School in St Ann’s to research games and rhymes in their playground.

Children from Welbeck Primary school were shown the video in the new Central Library before heading out to the new play area for the ribbon cutting.

Researcher Rick Hall said, “An important idea behind the video is that children need space to play, so we are delighted that Blue Bell Hill Games is part of the opening of the play space at the brilliant new library for Nottingham.”

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