Wildlife Trust welcomes exciting vision of Nottingham’s new ‘Green Heart’ with potential to transform development decisions across the city.
The Charity that called for former shopping centre to be re-imagined as greenspace keen to ensure vision for more than three hectares of greenspace and wildlife habitats, becomes reality.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, which 12 months ago put forward a bold ambition to see a derelict former shopping mall reimagined as wildlife-rich greenspace, has yesterday welcomed the exciting vision put forward to Nottingham City Council by the Greater Broadmarsh Advisory Group.
The vision, announced earlier yesterday (7th December), would see parts of the structure of the derelict shopping centre retained and reimagined into a multi-use, flexible space to bring people together in the city centre as part of a wider plan which could deliver thousands of jobs, hundreds of homes and significant new business and conference space centred on a new ‘Green Heart’ in the city.
Billed as a blueprint for sustainable city centres in a post-covid world the vision would deliver a hectare of new greenspace at the heart of the transformation plus significant additional areas of wildlife habitat and greenspace across the wider regeneration area.
Speaking about the new vision Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said: “When we put forward our bold aspiration to see the Broadmarsh reimagined as a wild greenspace we were blown away by the level of public backing for our ideas. Our call for space where people could connect with nature in the heart of the City really struck a chord.”
Over 15,000 people signed an e-action backing the Trust’s call and the idea generated huge support locally as well as national and international interest.
Paul continued: “We have always been ambitious for people and nature in our City and we knew that there would be many competing pressures for the site, but as we face up to combined ecological and climate crises we felt we had to be ambitious to make a difference. Across the UK we need to see 30% of land restored for nature and we recognise that city centre space is at a huge premium, so we’re delighted and excited that the creative team have listened to our ideas and believe that wildlife-rich greenspaces should be central to the regeneration.”
With the one hectare ‘Green Heart’ and almost two and a half hectares of ’common ground’ across the 8-hectare site, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that there is real potential for the site to deliver far more than the 10% Biodiversity Net Gain recently enshrined in the Environment Act as mitigation for all new development. The charity believes that with commitment and vision from the City Council and developers, something much nearer the 30% international target could be achieved – which would be outstanding in a city centre context.
Paul explained “Nottingham has an amazing opportunity to create a vibrant, welcoming and wildlife-rich space for people to live, work and socialise. Over the past 18 months, we’ve increasingly seen people seeking solace and inspiration in nature. By committing to protect the ‘Green Heart’ and to threading wildlife habitat through the public spaces, business premises and homes, Nottingham City Council can lead the way not just on carbon reduction but on reconnecting people with nature.”
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust is keen to play a constructive role, working with the Nottingham City Council and other partners to ensure that the vision delivers for both wildlife and people. The Trust, which has been championing city wildlife for over 40 years, is keen to ensure that any future master plan for the area puts nature at the heart of economic recovery and sets the tone for sustainable urban planning across the whole city. In March the Trust, alongside other organisations keen to see a sustainable transformation of the Broadmarsh, called for future plans to exceed sustainable building principles, underpin Nottingham’s 2028 Carbon Neutral commitment and address issues such as social inclusion and food security.