The design teams behind The Island Quarter in Nottingham have changed their plans for the 36-acre site to create more leisure space – enhanced green spaces and multi-functional public areas for outdoor events.
David Leonard of Leonard Design Architects (LDA) explained: “The plans for The Island Quarter have been adapted to create inclusive, healthy, sustainable and viable communities, which also meet the changing attitudes towards flexible working and health and wellbeing in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These latest changes include an expansion of the linear park, which will now extend around the site to create active, liveable and safe spaces linking the new community at The Island Quarter with the area’s existing vibrant communities.”
The placemaking plan creates an extended network of community areas and access routes for pedestrians and cyclists, further linking Sneinton and the east of the site with the city centre to the north and west.
The site was formerly the headquarters and laboratories of Boots, the chemists, and has been mostly vacant for more than 25 years. It was acquired by Conygar Investment Company in December 2016.
An outline planning application for a mixed use scheme was submitted in June 2018 and the resolution to grant planning permission was granted by Nottingham City Council granted planning permission in April 2019 for a £650m, two million square feet development to include offices, student housing, private residential and build to rent flats, a hotel and, potentially, an entertainment/leisure venue.
David Leonard said: “Relooking at the masterplan as a result of Covid, we were seeing our work patterns changing our living patterns changing, and a real desire for open space and greenery. These were the big motivators for having another fundamental look at the plan.
“As a Nottingham headquartered international architecture practice, we have a vested interest in the success of this site, and our new masterplan will ensure that The Island Quarter is a destination where people want to spend their time.”
David West, director at Studio Egret West, which is working on the placemaking, said: “We want The Island Quarter to be very distinctive. The aim is that it is complementary to the other Nottingham quarters and yet differentiated and contrasting. We have amplified the overarching theme of an ‘island’ into an ‘archipelago’ of mixed use accommodation set within a verdant, nature-filled landscape”.
The new masterplan contains 10,000 sqm more urban river and green space than the original, as well as more than 20 restaurants, bars and cafés. Plans also show 1,600 new homes and space for 6,000 office jobs.
With phase 1A already under way, other upcoming phases will include different typologies of housing from family homes to apartments, and homes for sale and for rent.
Christopher Ware, property director at Conygar, said: “We want The Island Quarter to be an exemplar development and one that really sets a standard not just for the Midlands, but for the rest of the UK and beyond.
“We have consulted with local communities on what they want to see from The Island Quarter and we will continue to do this over the coming weeks and months – to ensure that we are constantly listening to what communities and local businesses have to say.”