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Broad Marsh: Huge transformation underway as the Green Heart takes shape

Building work is underway to create the new wildlife-rich Green Heart, which is part of the Broad Marsh area and the site of the former shopping centre.

This is a key element of the wider Broad Marsh vision developed by world-renowned Heatherwick Studios.

The new green space will be a place to enjoy nature with 38 trees, 34 of which have been newly planted, plus areas of colorful planting, a new ‘bog’ area and more paths and places to sit.

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What the designs for The Green Heart look like

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Green Heart

The sandstone, which is the same rock on which Nottingham Castle was built and the city’s unique cave system was cut, is used to create pathways and new large boulders for the settlement. In addition, there is a new long bench that arches through the planting and marsh, allowing people to sit, enjoy and experience nature.

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A green space rich in nature in Nottingham city centre

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The Green Heart is also a key pedestrian route, so there will be a main footpath creating a clear and direct route from the train station to the city centre. This pedestrian route will be well lit at night and will be the route to all other leisure areas during the day and a place for people with reduced mobility to stop and rest.

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This new space, which is just the beginning of the ecological transformation and is due to be completed this summer, will enhance biodiversity by creating green, natural habitats and food for wildlife.

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A comparison of the above, the designs for The Green Heart area and below the Broad Marsh site – top image © Nottingham City Council – bottom photo © westbridgfordwire.com

“Put the marsh back into Broad Marsh”

A key objective is to put the ‘swamp’ back into Broad Marsh. In addition, this year a new law made all new developments in England ‘nature positive’.

This is to help the country achieve our goal of halting wildlife decline by 2030. This means developers must increase natural habitat by 10% (Biodiversity Net Gain BNG). Green Heart destroyed this target and increased natural habitat by 438% (BNG).

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Green heart design

The Green Heart design is unique to Nottingham and has been developed by Townshend Landscape Architects in conjunction with Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, with Heatherwick Studio retained as strategic design adviser and contractor Willmott Dixon carrying out the construction work.

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Work in progress May 2024