The new Nottingham Station!

I was at the station last week just as the last of the contractors were variously cleaning down the windows and sweeping away the debris following months of major refurbishment.


The (new) station opened its doors today!

The station is an amazing example of Victorian railway splendour and looks as good today as when it opened in 1904. It is how railways Stations should be – imposing, grand and a statement. You need to know you have arrived. In 1904 it cost £1m to build!

Later this year the final transformation will be complete – when the lines 2 and 3 of the tram will be fully integrated with the station. It will truly be a transport hub fit for the next hundred years.

A couple of moans though:

1. Why oh why did the contractors not connect the station car park to the station? I know you can access ‘platform 7’ but it cannot have been beyond the wit of man to make a connection to the footbridge. Having to go outside when it is raining is so 19th century.

2. Can we please make Station Street accessible from London Road again? I know this ‘bus lane’ has been a great cash cow for those unlucky enough to get caught on the camera, but it makes no sense. It makes getting to this side of the Station difficult.

3. Can someone please make sure that the retail outlets in the station concourse are aspirational. Not Morrisons or WHSmith. Too late perhaps! This was surely a great chance to make something good.

Hopefully this will regenerate this area of town and we will see some redevelopment of the surrounding tat. We do deserve it…

Step away from the paintings, moth******er

I came home last night to this headline in my Nottingham Post


It seems that one of my local councillors, Georgina Culley, has come up with a cunning plan to sell off all of Nottingham’s art. I nearly fell off my armchair.

The story suggests,

“There is £75 million worth of artworks that the city owns but the council has no detailed catalogue of, nor can it tell us how much of this collection is, or has ever been, on display.

“Leader Jon Collins and deputy Graham Chapman are asking residents to pay more council tax again this year, asking our poorest residents to pay even more by reducing the council tax support the council provides and increasing rents, but the prospect of selling some of this massive collection has never even been debated.”

I am a city council ratepayer and this is possibly the worst idea I have heard in recent years. I fully accept that the Council is struggling to balance the books – it’s budgets are being cut by central government. There is a suggestion that the Government do want to get Councils to reduce their reserves so that the National Debt is reduced. Most people would agree that in the past there has been waste in our councils. But that is having to be addressed.

But selling our art?

Much of the art has been ‘held’ by the Council for hundreds of years. Some of it was gifted to the City. The collection contains some important local works. Art plays a key part in our rich cultural heritage. We even lent some piccies to the PM back in 2011 – read about that here.

But more importantly than all of this – you do need to remember that you will only sell it once. When it is gone, that’s it. No chance of the collection ever coming back together.

These works belong to the citizens of the city. They are not to be pawned by my local councillor who is looking for a headline.

Hands off Ms Culley.

This is brilliant!

Sometime I come across things which are just brilliant.

Hellow Lamp Post is a project which has actually finished – it was run in Bristol last year between July and September. It has been nominated for lots of awards!

The blurb says,

“Hello Lamp Post is an experimental, city-wide platform for play. This is an opportunity to rediscover your local environment, share your memories of the city and uncover the stories that other people leave behind. Hello Lamp Post encourages you to look at the city with fresh eyes and engage with systems we take for granted. This is a chance to slow down, reflect and give yourself permission to play.

Hello Lamp Post is an interactive system that gives everyone in Bristol a new tool to talk with each other, through prompts and questions – all facilitated by the city’s physical infrastructure. By referencing the thousands of pre-existing identifier codes that label items of street furniture across the whole city, players can send text messages to particular objects, including (but not limited to) lamp posts, post boxes, bollards, manholes, bins, or telegraph poles.”

This is just fantastic – what a great way of connecting people to their place…

Wise words

One of the great British Politician died on 14 March – Tony Benn.


I have generally avoided Politics and Religion here on this blog – but I read something last week from Benn which appealed to me.

Benn was quoted as saying,

In the course of my life I have developed five little democratic questions. If one meets a powerful person – Adolf Hitler, Joe Stalin or Bill Gates – ask them five questions:

1. What power have you got?
2. Where did you get it from?
3. In whose interests do you exercise it?
4. To whom are you accountable?
5. And how can we get rid of you?

If you cannot get rid of the people who govern you, you do not live in a democratic system.

I think this is rather clever and can be applied to most situations – including companies…

Nottingham – great stuff #8

I think it is time we got back to the list of what makes Nottingham great. And this is a slightly selfish one.


You probably know that, in my spare time (!), I am Chairman of Nottingham Squash Rackets Club. The club based in The Park in Nottingham has a rich history. It was founded in 1909 – by the then landed gentry and business community of Nottingham – there are some great Nottingham names mentioned in the first set of minutes – Birkin, Cratwright et al. We have the minutes posted on the wall.

Squash had a heyday in the 1970′s but since then numbers playing have declined. We have managed to stabilise the membership and today have just over 500 members. We have 10 courts and a growing junior academy. There is a shop too – stocking an impressive array of sporting gear – you can buy online here.

But the thing I am most proud of is the professional team – who play under the banner Air-IT Nottingham. Todd McQuilkin from Air-It is as squash mad as I am and put up sponsorship, along with others to get the team off the ground. We have tried to keep home-grown players and to a large extent have done so. It looks like we won’t quite make the National Championship play-offs although mathematically there is a slim chance.

Our last match is away at Pontefract in just over a week. The five home-matches have been a sell out!

We run squash at every level – from beginners through to pro’s. We cater for all ages.

And fundamentally we are a club – run by the members for the members.

If you fancy a go and have never done so before then we can arrange it. If you have played we have 19 leagues to get your level matched – and if you like team squash we have 17 teams which play out of the club…

The four i’s

Professor David Greenaway, Vice Chancellor at Nottingham University has recently set out a view on how Nottingham should prepare itself for the next few years. And he has summed it up as “the four i’s”.


They are – Investment, Infrastructure, Innovation and International.

This really resonates – especially after spending a week in Cannes “selling” the City.

In Nottingham we already tick so many boxes:

Investment – it is what we are seeking – people to throw money our way. We are generating the right environment to attract it. It will be lifeblood of the city.

Infrastructure – we have c.£750m worth of works underway – Tram, A453 and ring road improvements. These underpin the future connectivity of the city. This future-proofs us. It is critical.

Innovation – our message last week was all about the pool of talent in the city – Ibuprofen and MRI were invested here! We have some very bright people and a hot bed of talent at our Universities, BioCity and the creative quarters.

International – we were in Cannes – but more importantly the city have strong links (through the University) with China and Malaysia. The world is getting smaller – we can trade with it.

We have so many great stories to tell and this great mnemonic is easy to remember and easy to deliver on. It is a very simplified message which can be universally translated and used. Our “Talented Nottingham’ message last week slots nicely into it!

The MIPIM 2014 round up….

MIPIM 2014 finished last week and I think it was one of the best shows yet. Nottingham City Council stepped back up the plate after three years of private sector sponsorship. We still sponsored the event; but the City put money in too.

If you follow the blog you will know that we elected for a theme about ‘talented Nottingham’ which has a number of levels. Firstly the amount of raw talent in the city and the growing Creative Quarter. But secondly that when people come to city to invest (possibly by opening an office) they look at the physical assets and the pool of talent in the workforce.

We wanted something to convey the talent – which set us apart from the crowd. We had three things – a 3D App, a CD of Notts music and a film. The film is below.

I think the film is brilliant – I wasn’t sure if the City would buy into it – but they did.

What do you think?

Daily Mail facts (well approximate facts)

I am going to post some of the things we did at MIPIM last week tomorrow. But on Saturday the Daily Mail printed a ‘story’ about the “Jolly” of the MIPIM festival.

The Nottingham HQ is on the left ...

The Nottingham HQ is on the left …

You can read it here.

The paragraph about Nottingham says, “Team Nottingham, the delegation from Nottingham, took over as its headquarters the top floor of a bar overlooking the beach, paid for by private sector partners.

Three facts.

Fact One – “The top floor of a bar”. Well sort of – it was the first floor above a bar- there are three above the room hired. Not quite the ‘top’ then.

Fact Two “overlooking the beach”. Again, not quite. The beach is some way to the East of the restaurant. You can see the brutalist 1960′s architecture of the Palais De Festivals. And possibly some masts of yachts in the harbour. But not the beach.

Fact Three “the private sector paid for [the HQ]“. Well again, not quite. The private sector sponsored the attendance at the event – but those funds were not directly attributed to one part of the show or other. The Council funded part of the trip too. The private sector did pay for a drinks reception – at which there were over 200 Investors, developers and advisors.

I do realise that it is fairly pointless arguing with the National Press on this, but I do suggest that it a great pity when facts get in the way of a good story.

Back to the facts tomorrow!

For Sale – in France

One of the stories we have released to coincide with MIPIM is our appointment to dispose of the Castle College site on Maid Marian Way. I have acted for the College for many years and they have really ambitious plans to release a number of sites and build a new ‘super college’. The location for this has been identified at ‘Broad Marsh East’ – just to the South of Nottingham Contemporary.


I was interviewed yesterday by Radio Nottingham. And the interview produced a flurry of comments – some on air and some on their Facebook page.

You always have that uneasy feeling when you ask for views. It is widely accepted that the current buildings on site are not exactly jewels in the Nottingham crown. But they serve a purpose and have done so for some time. The College will only move off the site allowing redevelopment when the new college has been built. That could be 2017 / 18.

But back to – asking for comments is a bit like a reverse brainstorming process. The people of Nottingham have spoken…

Robert Frank Taylor – what ever it is it will be a waste of money.

Dirk Lerxt Pratt – another curry restaurant nobody visits?

Tracy Howells – Another poundland!! Surely we don’t have enough pound shops in the city yet?!!!

Steve Farr – a massive Greggs?

But then – some potential uses:

A brewery
Mediaeval Market
A Mosque

I don’t know what it will be – but I hope that it will be something which changes the skyline of Nottingham!

By Tim Garratt Posted in Business, MIPIM2013, Nottingham, Regeneration, Robin Hood Tagged Central College, facebook, for sale, Maid Marian Way, MIPIM 2014, Radio Nottingham

Welcome to MIPIM 2014

I can’t believe it is a year since I was in Cannes at the international property show – lovingly known as MIPIM. In fact this is my 10th year – my badge has turned gold!


This year is different for Nottingham – for the last three years the private sector have paid for and represented the City. This year we are back to a supporting role. But the support team is bigger and the City are fielding their largest ever presence.

MIPIM is much misunderstood. It is a global property show. It is a concentration of Investors and Developers. They are looking for opportunities. We are here to promote the opportunities in and around Nottingham. We are majoring on the Enterprise Zones. But also on the theme of ‘Talented Nottingham”.

As soon as I am able I will post the brilliant films that has been made by Spool Films and Confetti. We also have a very clever 3d App which shows off the potential EZ’s – in their full glory!

We have breakfasts, lunches and dinners – all with the intention to promote Nottingham. We are also to play cricket on the beach with the talented Derek Randall…

Tomorrow we have press day – which is our opportunity to set out what we are hoping to achieve.

I’ll keep you posted on progress in the week!