Only obvious problem looking from outside was the lack of social distancing whilst queuing for Wetherspoons. Not all the pubs and not all the restaurants are open. Do want the opening of places of entertainment to succeed. – No idea what the impact on public health will be. Some predictions of new surges in this first wave have arguably not come to pass (e.g. V.E. Day, mass transport in trains to and around London, the Bournemouth seaside throng), but I don’t know. Nor do we know what has triggered a surge in Leicester.
Received a letter to local residents on these plans and you might wonder why carry on with radical change when works to transform Broadmarsh have stopped, question marks hang over city street retail, the opening of the new Nottingham College has slipped to January 2021, more people might be working from home and the earliest any extra new development on the Island site could be is 2022. And then confusing signals have at times been given over the future of bus priority lanes on Carrington Street (only last Saturday), expanding the capacity of the London Road / Queens Road junction and the A453/A52 Clifton Bridge capacity remaining constricted cos of the unexpected and major repairs needed.
Yet the longer term vision for traffic in the city centre and across from and to West Bridgford and the north of the city has been of reduction of traffic since before the construction of the Southern Relief Route – the new Castle Marina Road and the widened Queens Drive / Waterway Street West / Sheriffs Way / Queens Road / London Road – to enable it some 20ish years ago. A 4 lane “racing track” along Collin Street “cuts off” the railway station from the city centre and we wanted change. The lower levels of traffic as we come out of the public health emergency actually means this is might be a better time to introduce the change, and I hope the transfer of the nearside inbound lane on Trent Bridge to cyclists will encourage the move to working from home, or commuters using their bikes.
As for some of the confusing signals that have at times come out, I’ve not heard of Queens Road junction being planned for expansion for some time now, and the notion of buses travelling south from out of the city no longer having a direct and prioritised route to the Meadows Way east bus lane seems peculiar at best, kinda running counter to the philosophy of the north of The Meadows (running along Crocus Street and Traffic Street) providing thousands of extra homes and bedrooms for people who will be less reliant on the car.
I wonder if more of NCT’s bus routes might want to explore running around the city? More of the City Council’s services are provided from Loxley House, more of the DWP’s services too; we will be moving the Central Library from Angel Row to Collin Street and Nottingham College will have a new central location off Middle Hill. And the Island site will look to be more active.
Some of NCT’s Orange and Turquoise routes offer a City Loop option from the north, and alongside NCT’s Green services and NCT’s Navy 49 use the Middle Hill / Fletcher Gate / George Street route. It’s great, and serves thousands of residents in the Lace Market and Hockley who don’t own cars.
But the Ice Arena and the Island site are only served by NCT’s Red route and the EcoLink.. Could NCT’s Brown and/or Yellow services be extended to run around the city centre travelling along all of Canal Street before coming back along Bellar Gate / Belward Street / Cranbrook Street and Lower Parliament Street, with the inbound Victoria Centre stop (J1) becoming an interchange for passengers coming in from Mansfield Road (incl. Lime, Purple and Sky Blue) who would then want to reach the south of the city centre, including dropping off much nearer to the railway station?
“Mr Rogan, a Nottingham-based architect who specialises in historic and conservation work, said “smaller, greener developments” should be replacing larger shopping centres. “Describing the Broadmarsh building as “a dead whale” and the plans for Collin Street’s pedestrianised area as “a bit of a bodge”, he pointed to changing retail patterns in calling for a mixed development of smaller shopping units and housing to revive the area south of the city centre. “I think [the council] are trying to make the best of a difficult situation, but they need to completely re-evaluate things in view of what’s happening,” he said. “[Broadmarsh] is going to be an open sore until it’s gone, and it will always be that.” A relatively measured statement from a locally known architect.
Others have called for a park to replace the existing shopping centre and part of Maid Marian Way to be buried in an underpass (claiming all that to be green). Others still for the return of Drury Hill.
To which – – the new Broadmarsh does move away from retail, including a cinema multiplex and bowling alley, believed commercially viable because of the larger numbers of younger people living in the city; – Drury Hill could never be brought back, because we’ve since built up Middle Hill; the new Broadmarsh was set to extend Drury Lane and open up an existing green space which includes a remaining part of the cliff edge; – the natural cliff itself has long since been dug out; it would not be a very handsome backdrop to a big new park; city centre land is still in demand, and even if we await the outcome of the public health emergency on retail, there is still a huge demand for housing to serve younger people and students; – the original plans for shopping from 1997 did envisage the return of more of the original street pattern, but there was not that much on the eastern half of the shopping centre to begin with, and lots of the original streets were lost to Maid Marian Way; – burying Maid Marian Way would not create an attractive feature; it would start with a severe cutting and end with a big hole; the gradients would make the journey too difficult for some of the traffic that uses that route, and might even have to be wider if the existing bus routes were to be defended; a huge cost, made worse by having to move utilities that probably traverse the road; – removing the part of the car park that traverses Collin Street probably makes the car park unviable and a buy out would cost huge amounts of money; – money for such projects is something the council doesn’t have.
Imagining a different future is not so difficult, if you ignore what’s there.
Ran into this 3 part video history series after seeing a travel vlog. Written and presented by Michael, of Nottsflix, and published in 2018 and 2019, this is a pretty impressive effort if, as claimed, this was his first attempt. It tries to be light-hearted. I’m not an historian so can’t know is everything is right, but it seemed pretty compelling to me. A history of the Broadmarsh shopping centre, starting with what Broad Marsh itself was, how it was known to be a monastery, how it was taken over for various trades, how living conditions came to be so intolerable despite the wealth being generated in the city, why the shopping centre came about and why it has the brutalist architecture (albeit, 3rd wave, muted brutalist architecture). Michael has also found letters from the protestors against the shopping centre being built, although seems a little unclear as why the council was so keen (suggesting something dark and underhand). Not sure. One of the losses that at one stage the early and much more ambitious proposals for regeneration wanted to re-instate was the previous city streets plan for that area (although that was also compromised by Maid Marian Way. That optimistic time was first publicly promoted I think in 1997, but the scale of the proposals was huge, and the then owner Westfield, had other projects, e.g. Derby’s shopping centre, that were easier to do and so done first.
We adopted a new Local Plan, but with some discussion about whether office and shopping studies from 2014 and 2015 not already being out of data. I briefly mentioned the Cattle Market.
New polling districts and polling places were agreed, but I spoke out about the poor state of the register with so many not registered, the expense of compiling it when national lists already exist, the use of an out of date register to define the cards, the threat of reduced Parliamentary representation for Nottingham because of the under-registration, the threat to turnout by requiring i.d. when voting (based on a panic generated by the Right), and the unwillingness to even explore Estonia’s use of internet voting, which saw 44% or participants using the internet to cast their vote in their elections last yea. We should care more, much more.
The Conservatives called for the Knife Angel to be hosted in Nottingham – I spoke against. If we must have statues, let them be to Austerity and Private Greed in the neighbourhoods that voted for it.