Plans have been unveiled to create a skateboarding area as part of the huge changes underway to reimagine the Broad Marsh area.
The project, announced in the week of International Go Skateboarding Day (Tuesday 21), is a collaboration between Nottingham City Council, Skate Nottingham and Skateboard GB.
It is planned for Sussex Street and will be an all-weather, well-lit space surrounded by a perimeter ledge between the skate area and the pedestrian footpath.
This ‘blank canvas’ will then be filled with several modular pieces of skateable street furniture, designed and built with Betongpark, a specialist firm responsible for recent skateboarding installations at Somerset House and The Strand, in London.
Work has started and is hoped to be completed by the autumn.
Last summer, Sky Brown became Team GB’s youngest ever Olympic medallist, which sparked national interest in skateboarding across all ages and genders.
In Nottingham, 13-year-old Miriam Nelson won this year’s Skateboard GB National Championships, while Skate Nottingham has delivered free sessions and events to more than 3,000 local people.
The City Council and Skate Nottingham have been working with a wide range of local and international experts to develop plans for the space as part of the wider Sussex Street development in front of the new Nottingham College building.
This has undergone a complete makeover through Transforming Cities-funded improvements to streets around the new Broad Marsh car park, bus station and Central Library building.
It has been turned from a piece of scrubland beneath the tram viaduct and an unwelcoming pedestrian route into a pleasant space with plenty of plants and grass, paved areas, large tables and seating and amphitheatre steps.
These will lead up to Collin Street which will become a new public space alongside the former shopping centre site with its exciting vision for redevelopment.
More than 100 local young people participated in a design project for the new skateboarding area which culminated in a film for the 2021 Nottingham Festival of Science and Curiosity.
They were mentored by engineer Bedir Bekar, from Pryce & Meyers and University College London, and designer Rich Holland, whose ‘HomeCourt’ skate landscape for Nike’s European headquarters was shortlisted for the prestigious ArchDaily Building of the Year Award 2022.
The area will be noticeably different from a traditional ‘skatepark’ because items of skateable street furniture will be mobile as the Broad Marsh plan develops. This fits into the wider feel of Sussex Street with a flexible events area, basketball hoops and outdoor public seating.
Skate Nottingham has been awarded a National Lottery Awards For All grant of almost £10,000 to fund an ambitious programme of activities from the site, including free weekly beginners and women and girls-only skateboard sessions. It will also launch a Crowdfunder UK campaign to finance the installation of the street furniture.
Partners will also work to maximise the careers, personal development and employability benefits for Nottingham young people involved in the project, including work experience and further study. Local sports retailer Supereight will partner with DC Shoes to support an opening event.
Councillor David Mellen, Leader of Nottingham City Council and Portfolio Holder for Strategic Regeneration and Development, said: “This is a really forward-thinking project for our young people to get involved with and, when completed, will help to further enhance this key part of the Broad Marsh area.
“Sussex Street is taking shape quickly and has been totally transformed. Walking up into town from Canal Street now is a pleasant experience and we know what a difference it makes for students working out of the new college campus.
“Introducing a skateboard space fits in perfectly with the wider, more contemporary feel of the area and we look forward to seeing how it develops over the coming months.”
James Hope-Gill, CEO of Skateboard GB, said: “This is incredibly exciting, one year on from Team GB’s Olympic skateboarding medal.
“Cities like Nottingham taking the initiative to design skateboarding into a wider development that encourages socialising, urban sports and active play is really innovative, and helps us imagine how town centres can recover and re-invent themselves in exciting and inclusive ways while enabling more children and adults to Skate More, Skate Better.”