Street markets could be held around the former Broad Marsh Centre to encourage “economic regeneration” under new city council plans.
Nottingham City Council says street traders should be allowed to apply for permission to hold stalls on several streets in the south of the city.
The idea comes as the redevelopment of the area around the half-demolished Broad Marsh Centre continues, with work to create the Green Heart park area currently taking place.
The new car park and bus station is now fully operational, and the long-delayed new Central Library is expected to open before the end of the year.
However, the Labour-run council has failed to successfully bid for Government Levelling Up funding on two occasions, which would have paved the way to begin work to redevelop the skeletal frame of the shopping centre.
Now, according to a council report which will be discussed at a Regulatory and Appeals Committee meeting on June 9, street traders could be allowed to operate in several streets around the former shopping centre.
These include Collin Street, Sussex Street, Trent Street and Carrington Street, from its junction with Collin Street to its junction with Station Street, as well as Albion Street and Stanford Street.
Shoppers in the area welcomed the plans, but raised concerns over the area becoming “cluttered”.
Steve Holt, from Gedling, said: “I used to work in London and around Borough Market and I do not think this area has enough passing trade.
“We think it is a great idea, but you need thousands of people coming into the area to make it viable.
“We really like it but it has to be priced right.”
Lisa Holt added: “We always use this car park (Broad Marsh), so we would love to see it work.
“But it has to be done right.”
Meanwhile Alan Browne, from Ravenshead, said: “If you have an open area you should not clutter it up.
“It is all pedestrianised. You don’t want that cluttered. Lister Gate is like a slum, there are too many empty shops.
“The fabric of the city is the buildings, and they need to be built up, not through these temporary things.”
Council documents say the new plans could allow for the economic regeneration of the area.
“This will allow controlled street trading to operate in the area to support the wider physical and economic regeneration of the wider Broad Marsh area,” they say.
“By allowing street trading to operate in this area, it will provide a new offer for the city, away from the traditional retail offer of the city centre.”
Currently, trading is prohibited on the streets, but under the plans traders would be able to apply for consent to operate.
The council says the redesigning of Collin Street and Station Street as to improve access for pedestrians, alongside the “recent decline of the traditional retail-based high street”, has provided an opportunity to review how these streets are used.
“Historically, it had been deemed appropriate to designate some city streets as prohibited streets where there had previously been a lack of control over street trading and where it was felt that street trading may detract from other forms of established retail already present in the city,” council documents add.
“However, this pre-dates the recent decline of the traditional retail-based high street and we now have an opportunity to revisit the street designations with the aim of providing a new offer in the city centre where appropriate.”
The council says any detrimental impact on access for people with disabilities would be mitigated through the close control of any trading activities.
The council’s markets and fairs team would provide enforcement, with weekly-patrols planned from market officers.
Councillors sitting on the committee will discuss the plans at the meeting at Loxley House on June 9.
If approved, street trading would be allowed from December 2023.