The eight major projects acting as Nottinghamshire’s ‘shop window’

Date posted: June 14, 2023

This article was originally published in Nottinghamshire Live:

Midlands Engine Chief Executive, Roger Mendonca, has outlined the eight major projects across Nottinghamshire which he says act as the county’s “shop window.” Major housing developments such as Top Wighay and transformational work such as Nottingham’s Broad Marsh are among the projects which Midlands Engine mentions in its ‘investment portfolio’ for Nottinghamshire.

In a recent interview at Midlands Engine’s Trent Bridge House base, Mr Mendonca spoke about some of the key challenges facing the region’s economy over the coming years. Among the challenges, he said there are jobs across the region which could be “lost” if industries do not adapt in line with climate change concerns.

Mr Mendonca says one of the key focuses for Midlands Engine is therefore how the region transitions to a “green economy”, mainly through energy production. The Midlands Engine seeks to boost and promote the region’s economic growth through producing its own research, organising major events and engaging with the highest levels of Government throughout the year.

One of the key measures the body uses to boost economic growth in the Midlands is its investment portfolio. Explaining the purpose of it, Mr Mendonca said: “What we do with the investment portfolio is we provide a shop window to the world.

“When investors from other parts of the world are looking at where they want to come in, they tend to look for a number of different opportunities. Smaller investors will talk directly to people like the councils about the work they’re doing, but what we have the opportunity to do is conglomerate everything that’s happening across Stoke, Derby, Lincoln, Nottingham, Birmingham and say look at this huge portfolio of opportunities that you’ve got.”

Despite major transport projects such as a fourth crossing over the River Trent and an extension to Nottingham’s tram network having long been discussed, Mr Mendonca said he had not heard those being mentioned as key priorities for the region. He said: “Nobody has mentioned those particular two to me, so that says a lot.

“Given that public sector funding is really constrained at the moment, if you want to get money out of Government you’ve got to make a good case as to how it helps UK Plc rather than individual areas. It could be that’s why it’s not there, or it could be because there are other short-term issues which people are focused on at the minute.” Below are the eight Nottinghamshire projects that feature in Midlands Engine’s investment portfolio.

East Midlands Freeport

The East Midlands Freeport is expected to create 28,000 new jobs over the next decade, with the site set to be the UK’s only inland freeport. Freeports are specified areas that have their own tax and regulatory rules to try and boost economic growth.

These special rules could include looser planning regulations, lower business rates and lower stamp duty. The East Midlands Freeport will be the seventh to become fully operational.

It will be based across three sites including East Midlands Airport, the East Midlands Intermodal Park in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire’s Ratcliffe-on-Soar Power Station. At the Ratcliffe site alone, 10,000 new jobs are expected in green technologies.

Toton and Chetwynd Development

The historic Chetwynd Barracks are set to close in 2026, which Midlands Engine says “gives the opportunity to regenerate and reimagine communities on the borders of Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire.” Plans include cycle pathways, green spaces, new schools, healthcare facilities and carbon neutral homes.

Development at Toton will see the building of thousands of homes and a new development hub. To serve this area, Nottinghamshire County Council put in a bid to the Levelling Up Fund of £40 million for a major new link road.

The new road would have linked the A52 Toton Lane via a new, single-carriageway spine route running through Baulk Lane, accessed off Brian Clough Way. Despite the funding rejection for the road, county council leader Ben Bradley pledged that this element of the project will happen “one way or another.”

Power Park

Six large business units have been built near the Boots Campus as part of the wider Lenton Lane industrial area. Occupiers are now being sought for all six, which were scheduled to have all been completed in April.

All six units are described as “highly sustainable”, with one measuring 145,000 sq ft. Accessed via the A52 Thane Road, Midlands Engine says: “The scheme provides excellent demographics, motorway connectivity and power credentials.”

The Island Quarter

Nottingham’s Island Quarter development is a project split into multiple phases, with the first section having already opened. The initial stage of the Island Quarter comprises a restaurant, bar and events space – home to Binks Yard and Cleaver & Wake.

Alongside plans for hotel and residential accommodation, another further phase of the Island Quarter development is the delivery of a 12-storey student accommodation block. It will feature 702 bed spaces and be ready for the academic year starting in September 2024.

Developers Conygar recently announced that a 245,000 sq ft laboratory would also be based on site. Midlands Engine says the project is a “vital part of the regeneration of Nottingham’s Southside.”

Broad Marsh

Midlands Engine says the Broad Marsh project overall is expected to generate 2,000 jobs in the building stage and 2,300 new jobs once development is complete. Work on transforming the area since 2020 has mainly focused on demolishing the former shopping centre.

Other elements of the work so far have included the connection of Lister Gate and Collin Street and further work on developing a ‘masterplan’ for the wider project, which will include an area the size of the City Ground pitch being covered in trees and planting. But the wider redevelopment has been held back by the Government twice rejecting funding bids for it under the ‘Levelling Up Fund’.

Roger Mendonca has said he thinks the Broad Marsh project will “have to be” a priority for the new East Midlands Combined Authority, due to be up and running next May. Midlands Engine says if completed as planned, Broad Marsh would “offer social and economic opportunity to Nottingham on an unprecedented and historic scale.”

Top Wighay Farm

Work continues on transforming land once used for farming near Hucknall into a major new village, which the county council says could boost the economy by £873 million over 10 years. Plans for the Top Wighay development include 805 houses, a primary school, skills academy and a new Nottinghamshire County Council office.

Outlining planning permission for the development was first granted in April 2021, with the council have first purchased the brownfield land in the 1950s. Midlands Engine has highlighted the site’s accessibility to the M1 and frequent Trent Barton bus services.

Midlands Engine says of the project overall: “The highly accessible site has potential to accommodate key growth sectors including business and professional services, light manufacturing and storage and distribution. The site is superbly accessible to the M1 J27 and close to Nottingham Mansfield and Derby and supported by a skilled workforce.”

Fernwood Business Park

The Fernwood Business Park near Newark forms part of the Greater Fernwood development, which comprises a plan for 3,200 new homes. The business park is already home to several companies ranging from a care home to a gym and fitness centre.

Occupiers and investors are still being sought for the business park, which has close links to major routes including the A1, A46 and A17. The site is set across 37 acres of land.

Thoresby Vale

Thoresby Vale is a major development on the outskirts of Edwinstowe, being built on the site of the former Thoresby Colliery. The mixed-use scheme will see over 800 homes being built alongside a new community centre, primary school and 350-acre country park.

The project is being delivered over 10 years, with other plans including leisure facilities and a transport hub. Midlands Engine says 362 housing plots had been sold as of the end of 2022.


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