Broad Marsh dungarees

The Lib Dems and the Green have proposed a joint proposal on the renewal of Broad Marsh. An emphasis on making the roofs of future developments green and accessible to the public is not a bad idea.
But I wonder if the artist they commissioned was making a point when they dressed the city of caves workers in dungarees.
Health & Safety thinking probably stopped them short of them wearing sandals.

Walking through Broadmarsh again

Pleased to see a direct pedestrian route between Carrington Street and Listergate open again.

The restored route; photos mainly taken looking south.

There was vision to open up the walk through from Collin Street to Listergate providing with and light; to replace what for 40 years had been a tunnel with an entrance not that much larger than some conservatories. Change was needed. Change was agreed and given planning permission for.

The Collin Street entrance proposed as a replacement fo the mouse hole in a 300 yard brick wall.

A redevelopment was agreed between Nottingham City Council, the 1/3rd owner, with Intu, the 2/3rds owner.
Intu were a major player in shopping centres; but they went bust cos –
1. there was a pandemic;
2. there’s been a trend for people who own cars to use out of town shopping centres;
3. a tax regime that lets suppliers like Amazon completely off the hook.
They are deserving of some sympathy and I imagine city retailers can relate to those points. 

When Intu went bust, the works were not at a natural stoping point, as you might expect. The route was judged insufficiently safe (and I know there were problems with keeping the route dry.).
Some effort has gone in to making it safe; and the route has now been re-opened. When I went to see it, people were not aware the route was re-instated and heads down were heading from the top of Carrington Street to go around using Maid Marian Way.

Collin Street looks decidedly rough, like a building site, cos well, it is.

Some effort has gone into getting the route re-opened as quickly as possible (see Post article, reporting City council figure of £344k). Tricky cos all sorts of issues concerning ownership and new funding have had to be resolved. The City Council has had to get economic development support (NPost article reports £8 million) for new aim of demolishing buildings and clearing the site at Collin Street level.

Some surprise then to see Left Lion and West Bridgford Wire and others scream social media posts saying it doesn’t look nice. Duh.
Posts that then host comments suggesting the route doesn’t look safe – and constructors have worked to make it safe.
And something should be done! Duh. Like there’s no plan to get more done. 

So say it again – it was an imperative to get the walking route open cos the walk-arounds are really some distance. In the light of the collapse, we made it our top priority to get the link back.

Yet poor acknowledgement of how important it was to get the pedestrian route open again.

The northern part of Carrington Street has been refurbished to celebrate its original glories.

The northern part of Carrington Street has seen heritage funds invested into making the buildings a lot smarter and more evocative of their age.
Trouble is, the eye sees it much better than my photography skills manage to evoke.
And when you’re walking through, you may not see it, cos guess what, it’s a building site too.
We replacing the bus station, the layout of which will be much more passenger friendly, and the car park; and Nottingham’s central library will be moved there – designed properly for the purpose.
New college buildings are being built by the tram viaduct, just off what was Sussex Street. The college is due to start teaching there in January.

The future for the Broadmarsh as a whole remains uncertain, and some kind of public consultation may well be conducted soon.
It may well be recognised that shopping will not be such a part of the future vision. But it’s not clear that there still isn’t commercial demand for a cinema and a bowling alley.
And what to do with Severns House, on the north east corner of the site, which was never handsome, but which is still functional.

And Nottingham remains chronically short of proper accommodation for young people and students.
We have instead families being pushed out of private rented accommodation.

Finally, some pleasure to be taken in seeing what was a major shop on Listergate that Marks & Spencer chose to leave, re-opened this same morning.

Closing Collin Street to traffic in August

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?

Broadmarsh is not a blank piece of paper

“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.

History of Broad Marsh by NottsFlix

The Broadmarsh shopping centre regenerates; the video author is a Doctor Who fan.

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.

Meanwhile – look the videos up –
The Shopping Centre with Too Much History | Broadmarsh #1 | Nottsflix History (November 2018)
The Shopping Centre with A Dark Past | Broadmarsh #2 | Nottsflix History (March 2019)
The Shopping Centre Rises | Broadmarsh #3 | Nottsflix History (August 2019)

Planning committee – new Nottingham main college

The construction works for the “New Popham Street” site has prompted significant concern about the construction of the college and its operation from representatives of the Narrow Marsh residents, but not its creation.
Points on the development are –
* Residents have lost a playing area (which I know was not allocated as such in any local plan) and a new play area was once promised by a Portfolio Holder when ward members were first consulted; I hope the college, residents and perhaps the Contemporary Gallery can work in partnership to meet some of the needs of residents, especially families with children;
* Assurances given over noise and working hours are adhered to much better that have been for the new road;
* The college has the potential to be a significant attraction for users of the buses (the once hoped for additional tram stop has been lost) and that proper emphasis should be placed on bus stops for existing services that run past the site and for others that might be created or re-directed to serve the site (perhaps on Canal Street).

Planning committee – Broadmarsh bus station

Planning committee MME 28059140_10213423017204132_4709204315900656552_n
The no. 11 service that serves The Meadows is once again under threat, because London Road congestion has increased and made the service less reliable and less attractive.
We need a new and dedicated tram route to serve the A52 east of West Bridgford, but at best, it is fifteen years away, as presumably is the Broadmarsh tram stop.
The buses need to succeed to relieve our roads. We need to support the buses.
Since the early seventies, Nottingham City Council has had a proud and effective record of putting buses first.
Today’s committee will no doubt be work at getting the proposed changes right for the buses.

My specific requests are –
– fundamentally, expressing clear views and ambition for the viability and effectiveness of bus services;
– at a basic, understanding fully the conditions by which the new bus station is deemed to have sufficient capacity;
– being ambitious for bus services infrastructure, supporting the buses serving the Broadmarsh, Canal Street and the city centre loop;
– taking extra care to use highways infrastructure to enforce against car drivers queueing in lanes used by public transport and other service vehicles.

Expanding …
Panelling off bus bays from waiting passengers offers advantages for customers and operators, but there seems little doubt that even with the use of customer information technology, the capacity offered is at the limit for the services previously using the station.
Planning committee should send a clear signal that space for the buses to allow passengers to interchange is an expectation.