Council and Broadmarsh's new owners Intu at loggerheads over the future
FEW would disagree that Nottingham's major shopping centres are in need of significant investment.
But those in a position to make that happen appear to have reached an impasse in their negotiations to bring about improvements to the Victoria and Broadmarsh centres.
A letter from Nottingham City Council to Intu Properties – formerly Capital Shopping Centres – which has been seen by the Post, has set out the problems starkly.
Intu wants to press ahead with its plans for the extension of the Victoria Centre, for which a planning application was made more than two years ago. But the city council says it wants to be sure the Broadmarsh development will go ahead first.
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In addition, the city council believes the Victoria Centre plans need revising.
The letter, written by the council's development director, David Bishop, states: "It is disappointing that after a very productive period bringing forward plans for the transformation of the Broadmarsh Centre, in partnership with us as a joint developer, and being very close to a deal, on moving that forward to implementation, you have chosen to make such progress dependent on the council taking certain actions in its role as a planning authority with regard to the Victoria Centre. We are not prepared to do this."
Mr Bishop continued by spelling out what he regarded as a "speedy and risk free" way forward for achieving "shared goals".
Mr Bishop said the city wanted to quickly finalise outstanding technical matters with a view to going public on the plans for redevelopment of Broadmarsh, which would be part of a wider vision for city centre retail and the southern approach to the city from the railway station.
The announcement would be followed by public consultation, moving quickly to work up a detailed scheme for planning determination.
Mr Bishop said the council could work with Intu to amend the plans for redevelopment of the Victoria Centre, "so that they better reflect the balance of the new realities of retailing, the council's perspective of what the city needs and Intu's expertise in running successful retail centres so that planning officers could recommend approval."
At the same time, Intu would be expected to strike a formal legal agreement with the city council that the Broadmarsh Centre redevelopment would be carried out first.
Mr Bishop wants plans for the Broadmarsh to go to the planning authority for approval in the Autumn with a view to starting work next year.
Mr Bishop suggested Intu begins the redevelopment of Victoria Centre once Broadmarsh retail occupancy was clearly secure.
Intu, in its year end results published last week, suggested Broadmarsh would be redeveloped between 2016 and 2019.
Deputy leader of the council, Coun Graham Chapman, said "Those dates aren't good enough. We need to get shifting on Broadmarsh immediately. The letter we have written to them is solid, very straight forward and is in the best interests of the city.
"We need them to give us some clarity about time-tabling and what they want precisely and putting in a planning application for what they intend to do at Broadmarsh and Victoria Centres."
"At the end of next year, we will have two new lines of the tram, the dualling of the A453 nearing completion and a new railway station.
"We are falling over backwards to help."