Major redevelopment of Nottingham’s derelict police and fire HQ scrapped after listed status appeal fails

“We will need to review options for the whole of the site with partners, including the nearby Guildhall building”
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Plans to demolish and redevelop Nottingham’s former police and fire headquarters have been shelved after an appeal against the building’s listed status failed.

In January the bomb-proof building, in Shakespeare Street, was given a Grade II protected listing by the Government on the recommendation of Historic England.

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It was built between 1938 and 1940 and used as a joint-headquarters for the city’s police and fire departments.

The former Nottingham police and fire headquarters will now be protected. (Photo: Google Maps)The former Nottingham police and fire headquarters will now be protected. (Photo: Google Maps)
The former Nottingham police and fire headquarters will now be protected. (Photo: Google Maps)

The building closed in 2016 and the police and fire stations were relocated.

Developer Miller Birch hoped to demolish the building and construct a 900-bed student scheme on the site.

The plan had been recommended for approval by Nottingham City Council, which had put the site up for sale to generate a significant sum.

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The Labour-run authority lodged a joint appeal against the listing alongside the prospective new owners to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

However the appeal against the listing has now been rejected.

Cllr David Mellen (Lab), leader of the council, said: “I’m disappointed that the decision by the DCMS to give the former police and fire stations Grade II listed status, which has now been upheld following an appeal, means that our long-held plans for a major regeneration scheme on the site cannot now be delivered.

“We will need to review options for the whole of the site with partners, including the nearby Guildhall building. In the meantime, we will continue to keep the site as secure as we can, although this is not an easy task and comes with significant ongoing costs.

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“The council is committed to protecting Nottingham’s heritage and has a good track record of working with Historic England and DCMS to secure funding to restore older buildings in the city. Preserving the Guildhall building, which already had Listed status, was an integral part of our plan for the site.

“However, when public buildings are no longer needed for their original purpose, councils have a duty to consider what future options would provide best value for local taxpayers and would potentially attract private-sector investment. The nature of older buildings means finding a suitable alternative use is often not straightforward.”

The decision to grant the building protected status has also raised questions over the future redevelopment of the neighbouring Grade II listed Guildhall.

The Guildhall building, built in 1887, was to undergo a conversion and restoration to create a total of 39 hotel bedrooms, a restored grand reception space, a restaurant and bar in former courtrooms, as well as a spa and gym at basement level.

The hotel plans are now on hold pending the review.

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Hilary Silvester, of the Nottingham Civic Society, had opposed the plans to demolish the police and fire station building.

“I think we are relieved,” she said.

“It is sad for the city council in many ways because they obviously need money, but we are relieved that it has been reprieved.

“We are sure that it can be used and adapted. You need an architect with a good imagination.

“We think there is possibility for retail, hospitality or student accommodation. It is an attractive building that needs more care to smarten it up. I look forward to an imaginative development.”