Wildlife Trust has launched a bold vision to rewild the heart of Nottingham and green-up the historic city centre, following the decision to demolish the much-derided Broadmarsh shopping centre.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust has worked with landscape architects to reimagine the imposing grey urban jungle and replace the concrete with 100% natural greenspace – the start of a big idea to reconnect the city to Sherwood Forest and invoke the spirit of Robin Hood – bringing wildlife to nature-poor city dwellers and the millions of visitors it attracts every year.
“Transforming the Broadmarsh into a natural greenspace 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 and deliver the long term aspiration of reconnect our city to the ancient Sherwood Forest landscape and we’re calling on people to back our vision,” said Paul Wilkinson, CEO of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust.
Since the site was handed back to the Council in the summer, there has been much talk locally over the site’s future. A change.org petition calling for the area to be transformed into public greenspace secured almost 11,000 signatures and other polls have also supported calls for a new greenspace. As Nottingham seeks to recover from the human and economic impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust believes that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a healthy, wildlife rich natural world, and that we all depend on contact with nature for our wellbeing.
The charity has worked with Influence Landscape Architects to reimagine the space transformed with wildlife habitats reflecting the site’s history as a wetland alongside the ancient course of the River Leen and long lost gardens. The inspiring vision for the site includes accessible walkways based on a centuries-old city street plan to reconnect key parts of the city.
Despite the City’s stated ambition to be the UK’s first carbon neutral city it was recently ranked at number 18 in a list of the UK’s green cities following an assessment taking into account measures including emission, transport, waste and nature. Nottinghamshire 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 – and is calling on people living and working in the City to back its vision
As new development has replaced old, fragments of remaining greenspace and areas of ephemeral habitat, close to the former Broadmarsh Centre have disappeared and opportunities to recreate vital new green areas have been lost.
The Trust believes the location of Broadmarsh is the ideal site for the City to demonstrate its commitment to its flagship Wellbeing Design Guide published by the Council in January – taking a truly ‘nature first’ approach which would be viewed as a statement of intent that it wishes to take a lead on the environment and build a greener future.