Is 'tatty' Broadmarsh being left behind in centre plans?
AFTER a £36 million investment into Nottingham's Victoria Centre was announced this week, the cloud of the run-down Broadmarsh Centre was still casting its shadows over the city.
For more than ten years, the centre was promised a refurbishment and extension costing £500 million by former owner Westfield. But the deal was withdrawn, the centre was bought by Capital Shopping Centres, now called Intu Properties, and little has changed.
Now Intu has announced the Victoria Centre investment, traders are concerned that the Broadmarsh is being left further behind.
Geoff Williams, owner of the Tokenhouse in Bridlesmith Gate, said: "I think the Victoria Centre is tatty, but Broadmarsh is tattier. They should do something with it or get out.
"At the moment, Broadmarsh is just appalling and shameful. They're spending millions of pounds on the train station and the tram, and yet the Broadmarsh Centre sits there in between those developments like a big ugly block.
"It is the gateway into the city for anyone coming in on the bus or train and it is not a nice sight. We need a firm commitment that Broadmarsh will be redeveloped sooner rather than later."
His views were echoed by salon owner Heidi Davies, who said the Broadmarsh should have priority over the Victoria Centre, and added: "There is no glamour to Nottingham."
Mrs Davies, who owns Essensuals, in Long Row, previously worked in Dubai.
But, she added: "You can't really compare Nottingham to Dubai, because they go completely over the top there. However, we do need to create more of a 'wow' effect."
Jeff Allen, chairman of Nottingham Business Improvement District (BID), said the plan was welcome, but added: "The Victoria Centre is in need of a makeover and so plans for a refurbishment of the shopping centre spell good news. However, from a city point of view, the redevelopment of the Broadmarsh Centre is far more urgent and the three-year wait that is currently being indicated would be a tremendous disappointment.
"At the moment the Broadmarsh Centre doesn't create a good first impression – in fact, far from it. The building is tired and dated and has too many vacant units."
George Cowcher, chief executive of Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, added: "It is good to be seeing some investment coming into Nottingham.
"There is no doubt both centres need it.
"But there is also a danger of losing out to other regional centres, so Nottingham needs all its facilities upgraded so it doesn't fall behind.
"Birmingham is seeing some major investments and will see new department stores and we have developments going on in Leeds and Sheffield."
City councillor Nick McDonald, portfolio holder for jobs, skills and business, said: "There is not a great deal the local authority can do about developers buying shopping centres from each other."
Intu said it had plans to invest £390 million into both centres, "bringing new brands, restaurants and leisure spaces to re-establish Nottingham's status as the top shopping destination in the Midlands".
Chief operating officer Mike Butterworth said: "In the 12 months since we bought Broadmarsh, we have been working on a new scheme for the centre.
"We have listened to the council, local people, the business community and retailers and have designed a scheme that both we and the council are happy with.
"We now have in place investment plans of £390 million that will extend and upgrade the city's two favourite shopping destinations, bringing new brands and leisure spaces to re-establish Nottingham's status as the top shopping destination in the Midlands."