Earlier this month, shopping centre operator Intu submitted a detailed planning application to overhaul Nottingham's Broadmarsh shopping centre with a focus on boosting the scheme's existing dining and leisure facilities. Matthew Williams at planning consultancy Nathaniel Lichfield and Partners was planning adviser on the scheme.
Q. What is the planning history of the site?
A. The existing shopping centre was previously owned by shopping centre operator Westfield. They had permission for a huge development, but in 2011, due to economic circumstances it sold its stake to Intu.
Q. When did you first get involved with the scheme?
A. The application came to us in November last year. We met with the client to understand what they wanted, and with planners about what they would like to see from the development.
Q. What work did you do on the application?
A. Our initial work was scoping to see if an Environmental Impact Assessment was necessary. We submitted a scoping request to the council, which came back concluding that we didn’t need to do one because the site already houses a shopping centre and that use isn’t changing.
It has taken up quite a lot of my time, particularly in the past two months, leading up to submission. We have produced quite a comprehensive set of planning documents, including a design and access statement and a heritage assessment.
Q. What discussions did you have about the designs with outside parties?
A. In drawing up the application, we had around four meetings with the council, and also talked to the local design review panel, made up of architects and other design professionals.
The discussions centred on design and scale, reopening routes through the city centre. There was a real desire that the design would last a long time and not go out of fashion, and that it would react to other development around the site.
Q. What have been the main challenges of the project?
A. I suppose the main one is trying to come up with a design and a scheme that incorporates lots of different views. There was a big consultation in February with people who use the existing centre. There were 1,600 responses which helped to shape the proposals.
Q. When are you expecting a decision on the application?
A. The target is the start of July, or even the end of June.