“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.