CS asked the following question of the Leader of the Council:
During the last few years the Council has participated in a Big Conversation with members of the public about the future use of the Broadmarsh. Overwhelmingly people demanded a green and sustainable area with socially inclusive use. Therefore, I am asking for assurance that current and/or future plans for the space, as well as including a park, will only include buildings that are constructed to at least Green Building Council Framework Standards, will not include fossil fuel use, will insulate up to passivhaus standards, will include heat pumps and solar panels, energy storage and energy-sharing sharing schemes. I am also asking the Council for assurance that the development will include indoor spaces that are welcoming and financially accessible to all members of the community, including for creative and group use. I would also like to be reassured that the plans include responsible use of waste products generated.
In the absence of Councillor David Mellen, Councillor Adele Williams replied as follows:
Thank you Lord Mayor, and thank you to the citizen for the question. It is really good to have the opportunity to explain what we have done so far and how we plan to shape the future development and reimagining of Broadmarsh. You will remember that some time ago we carried out the Big Conversation, conducting our biggest and broadest engagement and consultation exercise. We had 3000 full responses, and at least 12,000 comments, and we got submissions from stakeholders like the Wildlife Trust, the Green Quarter, and many local and renowned architects and artists. The feedback and conclusions are all available on the Council’s website.
There were lots of brilliant ideas and it really quickly became very clear that what people wanted was something quite different, not to just resurrect a shopping centre like we had before, but something very different. Three clear themes emerged from that conversation. People wanted to see green space, heritage and a mixture of land uses, so that we could enable different ways of using the city centre.
Through talking and listening, hearing from people and understanding what they wanted from the site, what they wanted to see from a reimagined Broadmarsh, this has really fed into our vision for the area. Our role as place leader as the City Council and the democratically accountable local policy maker has to be to listen and respond to what people in Nottingham are asking us for, to make sure that the city centre is a place where people want to be to spend some time, and a place where people can start new businesses, grow their skills and support new generations of entrepreneurs, as well as somewhere where people can enjoy their days out.
We want it to be a place where you can meet friends, colleagues, and work from various public and private spaces if you wish to. So many people find themselves unable to spend some time somewhere without spending money and it is really nice that we will be preserving that public space. So perhaps one of the most important things to do as well, is to make it possible to live in the city centre, alongside nature and greenery, and make sure that remains within the urban environment. At the heart of the vision is over an acre of new green space, plus significant additional areas of wildlife habitat across the wider regeneration area through innovations such as green rooftops. It will be somewhere that is rich in wildlife and biodiversity right at the city centre. Our plan for the remaining shopping centre building is to reimagine it as a space really quite different, totally unique to Nottingham, and at the centre of this is the ‘Frame’. The ‘Frame’ is the retained structure of the old shopping centre, but re-worked and re-purposed. Retaining the embodied carbon in the existing structure is really the most sustainable way forward. The Frame will be a multi-use meeting place, designed to allow a diverse range of uses that will bring people together in different ways. The wider construction programme we expect will generate 2,000 jobs, with a further 2,300 new jobs once the on-site development is complete, and the wider Broadmarsh area will also create up to 1000 new homes, and 400,000 square feet of business and office space.
So we, of course, like the person asking the question, want the highest standards of sustainable building as they are absolutely in line with our Carbon Neutral 2028 ambitions, and when we made that pledge and set out that ambition, we meant it, and we mean to get there. We are not yet at the stage of designing the individual buildings, but I can really assure people on David’s behalf and on behalf of the Council that we will want to see these be as sustainable as possible across their whole lifespans. So, obviously, people will appreciate there are significant challenges to the viability financially of delivering this sort of scale of development, but I am hopeful of our clear and ambitious vision, and the people we are working with are increasingly delivering new buildings above and beyond minimum regulations.
We will shortly be submitting a bid for grant funding to the Government’s Levelling Up Fund Round 2, and we will be able to share more detail about that in some time. If we are successful then this will be the foundation for delivering the kind of place and development that the questioner is asking us to set out for Nottingham, and certainly that is what came back from the consultation. So I hope that everyone here, and the questioner and other citizens in the city, will join us to back the bid campaign that we will set out in the coming weeks, as we would love to have the support of Nottingham as you have responded to the consultation, and are very much hearing what people in our city want from this development. Thank you, Lord Mayor.