Land will be set aside to create a new tram line to Gedling borough if a scheme to redevelop Nottingham’s historic Cattle Market gets the go ahead.
Plans revealed today show new offices, an entertainment venue, flats and even a hotel could take the place of the market in the future.
The proposed regeneration of the site is part of a wider development to the area immediately north of the River Trent – known as the Waterside.
The plans also showed that land would be set aside for a new tram line, either to the south or north of Meadow Lane, which would then head east towards Gedling borough.
But those who work in the Cattle Market have expressed their sadness, and fear it could lead to a loss of identity for the area.
The latest plans for the Cattle Market come just over a year since a devastating fire destroyed four premises and damaged a further nine.
Businesses have had to uproot where they are based, moving temporarily or permanently, with several owners saying footfall in the area has still not recovered following the fire.
The proposed future of the site is included in the council’s masterplan for the city over the next eight years, known as the Local Plan.
It’s a lengthy legal document which allocates potential uses for different areas.
It doesn’t guarantee what will be built, or that developers will get planning permission. But it means when someone does apply for permission, they are more likely to get it if their proposed building is within the category allocated.
No firm proposals have been put forward, but the city council’s move does make development more likely.
Before the Local Plan, developers could still theoretically have received planning permission to build on the Cattle Market. But the plan now makes clear what categories of building the council wants to see in future.
The Local Plan is expected to be approved by councillors on Monday, January 13.
It makes clear that any development on the site would need to be sensitive to the area and carried out with minimum disruption.
It also says: “Development proposals will be expected to have regard to the need to relocate existing businesses.”
Once the Local Plan is passed, it is likely a new Cattle Market masterplan would be put together, with views of business owners included.
On the other side of the road from the Cattle Market – on land between Meadow Lane and the river – work is already underway on the Waterside development, with new homes being built.
Dawn Lear, 42, is the company PA at Anchor Supplies, a treasure trove of military surplus, outdoor supplies and hardware in the Cattle Market.
She said: “It would be really sad. After the fire we spent a lot of time and money rebuilding, encouraging customers to come back.
“The customers have given us amazing feedback, but relocating does have a big, dramatic effect on your business.
“It would be a real shame. There are some lovely old buildings there and I’m sure they would be protected but you’re taking away the spirit of the place.
“We’ve been there for 30 years and we would like to be there for another 30 years. I’m sure a lot of our customers would like us to be there as well, not everyone wants to demolish everything and put new buildings everywhere.
“We’ve got to keep places that have character, and not many places have character like the Cattle Market.”
Susan Willcox, 64, works at the Silly Sausage, a cafe on the site.
She said: “People do like the place, it’s been here years so it would be a shame to see it go, but they’re trying to revamp the whole area, there’s a lot planned.”
“The fire has affected trade big time, because a lot of business and individuals lost their livelihood and it’s never really got right again.”
Michael Edwards is a Labour councillor for the area, and chairman of the planning committee.
He said: “The Local Plan is giving people the potential to do something. It’s about giving people options.
“Development is needed (in the Waterside area) and the kind of development proposed compared to what we used to have there with all that industry at the Waterside, it’s a reflection of how the city and the economy has changed. We want the area to be vibrant.”
“I went down on the night of the fire and it was horrible to see, and there was dismay at what had happened.”
Councillor Linda Woodings is the portfolio holder for planning and housing, and represents the Basford ward for Labour.
She said: “The Local Plan sets out the vision for what we would like to see developed and helps to guide any future planning process, but it’s important to recognise that there are no firm plans for development of the Cattle Market area.
“All councils have a statutory duty to plan ahead and allocate preferred uses for different parts of their area, taking all sorts of issues into consideration like housing needs, existing and potential transport links, environmental and economic issues and emerging developments, and the Local Plan will be considered at our full council meeting next week.
“If adopted, it would allow for the development of the Cattle Market site in due course if a developer came forward with a suitable proposal.
“Prior to any development on the site, a more-detailed master plan would be prepared, and that would be open to consultation and comment.
“Nottingham is growing and changing and plans are underway or in the pipeline which will transform areas to the east of the city and close to the river.
“It’s right that we consider what could complement those schemes, how land might be used differently to meet emerging needs and what transport links could be needed to connect new developments with the rest of the city.”