Major plans on how to develop the Eastside area of Nottingham city centre and stop it becoming a hive for student developments are set to be discussed by councillors.
Nottingham’s Eastside comprises of the Creative Quarter around Sneinton Market and also includes the historic Lace Market and Biocity, with streets including Lower Parliament Street, Huntingdon Street, Glasshouse Street and Bath Street.
Known as the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) it aims to set out a vision for the area, identify opportunities and constraints as well as guidance on the type and form of development expected in the area.
Currently this is a draft proposal which is set to be noted and discussed by councillors at a planning meeting on Wednesday, 20 October.
The plan states that over recent years development within this area has been “dominated by student accommodation to serve the growing number of students at the city’s two universities.”
Parts of the area now stands at more than 50 per cent student accommodation.
The SPD therefore aims to “redress the balance by diversifying the housing stock in the area, and ensuring that a wider mix of uses can be accommodated.”
Cllr Linda Woodings (Lab), portfolio holder for planning, housing and heritage, said the plan aims to deliver a “vibrant mix of new residential, business, shops, restaurants and cultural uses” as well as “high quality housing attractive to a wide range of households.”
Plans also include improving travel connections to the city centre and adjoining neighbourhoods such as St Ann’s.
Work is currently underway to explore strategies to help break down “the current severance caused by the inner ring road.”
It states that the A60 corridor providing a north to south connection is well used by cyclists but has a “huge potential for greater numbers” as the road has little dedicated provision for them and multiple lanes can appear “hostile.”
A formal consultation period is currently being undertaken for the draft SPD and runs until 29 October, before it is adopted by the council’s Executive Board.
The council wants to see planning applications which support a mix of high-quality new homes, workshops, studios and offices as well as opportunities for the creative industries already occupied in the area such as Confetti.
It also wants to see the re-use of existing buildings, including historic buildings identified as being at risk or with a record of long-term vacancy or under-occupation.
The council says the area will appeal to investment in Build to Rent schemes, which it says is linked to undergraduate retention, the creative and digital technologies and the research and development associated with the life sciences cluster at Biocity.
The council identifies in its report how the area has dramatically changed over the years.
By the early 20th century much of the housing within parts of Eastside was demolished under a slum clearance programme which continued until the 1970s.
The slum clearances also resulted in terraced housing being demolished so that within the space of around 40 years the use of the area shifted dramatically away from a working-class residential neighbourhood to a much more varied mix of infrastructure.
These included motor garages, commercial shops and warehouses, a bus and coach station, an electric power station associated with the tram network, a post office facility, a telephone exchange and indoor and outdoor market space.
The council wants to see a broader mix of housing types in the city centre by including flats of two or more bedrooms and family housing.
The council states: “Generally, the city centre is dominated by smaller units, with a predominance of one-bedroom flats.”
It states: “Demand for student housing in the city centre also remains strong. During the past year, the Eastside area has seen a very large increase in student accommodation, with eight existing schemes with just over 1,500 bedspaces and eight further schemes with just over 1,150 bedspaces.”
This includes plans to demolish a former Royal Mail sorting office and replace it with a 13-storey student block in Bath Street.
Other plans include an eight-storey student housing development opposite Pryzm nightclub.
Developers will demolish existing offices in King Edward Street, Glasshouse Street and Kent Street to build the purpose-built accommodation block which includes 552 student bedrooms.
The council says: “Data shows that student housing concentrations in the Eastside area are significant, with over 50 per cent of all households in parts of the area comprising students.
“Given the existing high levels of concentration in the Eastside area, it is likely that further student housing has the potential to impact negatively on the character of the area, the local context and levels of amenity and these factors will be important when assessing any proposals for further student accommodation in the Eastside area.”
Photo: Martine Hamilton-Knight