Following the announcement that internationally renowned architect Thomas Hetherwick had been appointed alongside development company Stories to create a new vision for the former Broadmarsh site in Nottingham City Centre, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has today re-iterated its view that wildlife-rich greenspace should be central to the future plans.
Back in December the Trust, a locally based charity with over 10,000 members, published its vision for the Broadmarsh site reimagined as natural greenspace. Its bold vision was inspired by the desire demonstrated by the public to access nature during lockdowns and by public calls for greenspace at the Broadmarsh.
Its ideas were brought to life by Newark based landscape architects Influence illustrating how a range of wildlife habitats, reflecting the site’s history as a wetland alongside the ancient course of the River Leen and long-lost gardens could help create a unique public greenspace incorporating accessible walkways based on a centuries old city street plan to reconnect key parts of the city.
The vision instantly struck a chord with the public locally and have since received a remarkable level of attention across the UK as well as overseas.
Speaking about the latest phase in efforts to transform the Broadmarsh area Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust Chief Executive Paul Wilkinson said, “As Nottingham seeks to recover from the human and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes putting natural greenspace at the heart of plans would bring people together and start putting the city’s nature into recovery at a time when natural greenspace has never been more valued or needed. It could also act as a springboard to securing investment in green growth and green infrastructure in the city and beyond.
“We we’re delighted that a larger area, rather than just the footprint of the old shopping centre is now being considered for transformation as this gives even greater scope to allow nature in and to create spaces where people can connect with nature.”
The Wildlife Trust believes that a statement natural greenspace in the heart of the city would build climate change resilience, improve connectivity for people and provide an attractive backdrop for existing businesses as well as drawing in new investors.
The charity feels that such a bold move would boost tourism and ensure that Nottingham stands out from the crowd as cities across the UK compete for investment to rebuild their economies after the impact of Covid-19 as well as signalling the City’s commitment to helping secure the internationally accept target of 30% of land across the UK supporting nature by 2030.
Paul explained: “By putting nature and accessible greenspace at the heart of urban planning Nottingham City Council can build on its long-standing ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city. Whilst Nottingham has greenspaces to be proud of there are clear gaps, especially in the heart of our city which is unmistakably grey not green. As we face up to climate and ecological crises, now is the time to put nature back and we know thousands of people share this view. We look forward to sharing our ideas with Thomas Heatherwick and the team driving forward the future vision for the area.”
The Trust’s vision for the site was backed by over 14,000 people and an earlier change.org petition – started by Cameron Ewan of West Bridgford calling for the area to be transformed into public greenspace secured almost 11,000 signatures – for further details of the Trust vision visit: www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org/Broadmarsh-reimagined