Agenda item

Place Plans presentations - City and County

Presentations from Chris Henning, Corporate Director for Development and Growth, Nottingham City Council and Adrian Smith, Corporate Director of Place, Nottinghamshire County Council


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Chris Henning, Corporate Director for Development and Growth Nottingham City Council, and Adrian Smith, Corporate Director for Place Nottinghamshire County Council, gave presentations about place plans for Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County respectively prior to the presentation of these plans to the D2N2 Place Board.  It is anticipated that there will be a call from Government in the near future for projects to be funded through Local Enterprise Partnerships and therefore D2N2 is preparing for that request.


Chris Henning highlighted the following information in his presentation:


a)  Nottingham City benefits from factors such as historically low unemployment rates and a young population but faces challenges including that 10% of the population are unqualified and 51% of people working in the City travel in from outside the City.  GVA per hour is also significantly lower than Derby;


b)  Nottingham City Council is about to consult on a strategy for the city centre as part of its response to challenges currently facing high streets, helping to decide where and how the Council needs to intervene to build business confidence; 


c)  The ambition is to make Nottingham the most liveable Core City;


d)  Lots of development is taking place in the City with approximately £2bn worth of development opportunities either underway; with planning permission agreed; or with progress being made; 


e)  Development priorities include heritage work to bring buildings and streets back into use and make buildings sustainable; boosting the visitor economy, for example the restoration of Nottingham Castle, which needs to be linked to the tourism offer in the rest of the County; development of new commercial space including replenishing Grade A office space stock; building more homes with the appropriate mix of housing stock and tenure; opportunities for the establishment of a new urban village on brownfield land at the Island site; linking with key developments on the outskirts of the city including at Trent Basin; and expanding the Science Park and Boots Enterprise Zone;


f)  Improving transport infrastructure is key to supporting development and HS2 and improving access to East Midlands Airport are critical projects.  The tram extension has opened up opportunities in areas on the tram line and early consideration is being given to a further extension.  The corridor between Nottingham and Derby is key but there needs to be sufficient transport links to access this corridor.  Currently too much of the road network currently goes through the city centre but it can be very challenging to tackle road infrastructure issues;


g)  Digital connectivity is important and there needs to be 100% fibre to premises and 5G infrastructure installed;


h)  Nottingham City Council has an ambition to be carbon neutral by 2028 and a lot more needs to be done to maximise opportunities to contribute to this agenda;


i)  Nottingham City Council is looking for D2N2 to support with capital investment; improving connectivity including HS2 and the East Midlands Growth Corridor; and supporting collaboration between areas because businesses don’t stop at administrative boundaries; 


j)  Momentum on current projects needs to be maintained whilst also looking ahead to future phases of development that could start in 3-5 years time.


During the discussion that followed the following points were made:


k)  There are lots of factors pulling people away from urban centres so Nottingham needs to become a place that people want to live and work.  Environmental factors, such as air pollution, and wellbeing are important contributors to this;


l)  In addition to improving transport connectivity with Derby, it is important to recognise the value of connectivity between the city and towns in north Nottinghamshire such as Mansfield, Ashfield and Kirby and also the benefits of improving the A46 around Newark;


m)  The way in which people shop and use high streets is changing and development needs to respond to that;


n)  It is important for the city to look outside its boundaries and work together with neighbouring authorities, for example it is welcome to see the importance of sites such as Fairham in Rushcliffe recognised;


o)  It would be helpful for other towns in the County to learn from the experiences of Nottingham City Council and receive support in developing their own approaches to improving connectivity and transport links.


Adrian Smith highlighted the following information in his presentation:


p)  Strengths across the County include the visitor economy and the existence of market towns and villages in addition to larger urban centres.  Nottinghamshire is a large county with a big population and economy but that isn’t always recognised nationally.  The County is generally prosperous but there are areas of deprivation with greater challenges.  With the exception of Rushcliffe, house price affordability is generally good;


q)  Grant Thornton’s Vibrant Economy Index shows strengths and weaknesses across the different communities within the County;


r)  The nature of the economy across the County has changed over the last 15-20 years with lots of smaller sectors present rather than a small number of dominant sectors.  This is a positive because the County is less likely to suffer from a large economic shock;


s)  Skills are a key factor in productivity.  While 90% of primary school children attend a school rated good or outstanding by Ofsted, gaps in attainment increase by Key Stage 4 especially in areas such as Ashfield and Mansfield.  There is also a varied picture on adult skill levels with lower skill levels in Ashfield and Mansfield;



t)  Although it is generally a positive picture for the economy across the County, there are lots of untapped opportunities.  For example there is a lot of land potentially available for housing and employment development and that needs to be unlocked;


u)  The Government is beginning to make more investment available, for example with recent announcements about the Towns Fund and Future High Streets Fund;


v)  Power station closures present a risk of economic shock but there is also an opportunity for those sites to be repurposed for the future;


w)  Transport connectivity is important and work is taking place to bring forward applications for major schemes and prioritise and bring forward proposals for strategic road network schemes.  Priorities include the A46 and bringing the A1 up to motorway standard;


x)  Digital connectivity is also important.  Over 98% of County premises can access super or ultrafast broadband and residents will also expect to receive this level of service.  However there are gaps, and going forward Newark and Bassetlaw will be prioritised;


y)  Priorities for the future include fit with the sustainability and low carbon agendas; infrastructure-led growth; supporting sectors such as manufacturing, health, food and drink and the visitor economy to scale up and grow; and focusing on social and environmental, and not just economic, issues to make the County an attractive place to live, work and do business.


During the discussion that followed the following points were made:


z)  In the past there has been a lack of investment in Nottinghamshire and local authorities need to work together to make the case for future investment, for example in improving the road network;


aa)Co-operation between the County Council and district councils is welcome;


bb)There is significant variation across the County, for example some areas suffer from high levels of deprivation, and this needs greater recognition and more support, including funding, to address the issues, such as education and skills in those areas.


cc)  There are lots of opportunities for areas to work together on Future High Streets and Towns Funds.


dd)Transport connectivity is important and priorities should include the Robin Hood Line. 


Committee members welcomed the long-term and ambitious nature of the plans.  With its comments taken into account, the Committee supported the plans going forward to the D2N2 Place Board and suggested that presentation of the Nottingham City and Nottinghamshire County plans should be co-ordinated with clarity about the specific asks of D2N2.