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Excitement over 'beautiful' project after demolition of Forest Mill 'eyesore'

Forest Mill

Excitement over 'beautiful' project after demolition of Forest Mill 'eyesore'

Construction & Build

Excitement is building over 'beautiful' new plans that could replace a demolished 'eyesore'.

The site of the Forest Mill office building on Alfreton Road, Radford would be turned into a 790 bedroom student complex stretching across to Denman Street East, which at its tallest would be eight storeys, under the new proposals.

The five-storey block, which was built in the 1960s and had been left vacant for decades, was knocked down in June 2019.

Local businesses were happy to learn of the potential redevelopment of the land, which has been left as derelict land since the demolition.

Mussi Solomon, 44, manager of the Superstore £1 Plus on Alfreton Road, said that he was looking forward to the plans, which he labelled "beautiful".

"It is a bit horrible at the minute and the old building was very ugly and old," he said.

"I like the design of the new designs for it, they make me say 'wow' they're beautiful. It will make the area look a lot nicer for anyone coming here.

"We have all been waiting ever since it was demolished to see what would replace it."

Mr Soloman, who has been at the store for eight years, added: "It will bring more people into the street and make it busier.

"Alfreton Road is full of small businesses and for them to have more people across from them, who can come and buy goods is a positive."

The redevelopment would also have commercial units on the ground floor, facing Alfreton Road and a gym for residents.

Anthony Kemp, 50, an installer at Nottingham Hi-Fi Centre on Alfreton Road, said: "It's an area on the up really, I think it's a good idea for something like this.

"There's already more people coming up here than in previous years but that would hopefully give every business down here a bit of a boost.

"I would have maybe preferred affordable homes but I don't think it will badly impact anyone around it. Parking might be a bit worse but I don't think many students have cars anyway.

"The building before was an outdated eyesore and in the years before it was knocked down it was unsafe too. It will be nice to have the empty land used though with something that is quite impressive."

Approval had previously been granted in 2018 to create an eight-storey building on the site, comprising commercial units and flats, with outline permission for a further 229 homes.

Wajid Ali, 30, who runs the Ali's Fruit and Veg on Alfreton Road, welcomed the future development and said that he hoped it would be less disruptive to his business than the demolition of the previous building.

"I'm surprised by the plans as we have not really had much notice, not even when it was being demolished.

"Of course the plans will make the area look better and bring people into local businesses, the old building was ugly and also dangerous - people were breaking in."

Mr Ali previously told Nottinghamshire Live that he had lost a lot of stock because of dust from the demolition of the old office building.

"I am hopeful that the building will be more of a positive for us, because last time I lost a lot of stock and couldn't get any money back," he added.

Conservationists have backed the plans, which they say would be "appropriate" for the area.

Hilary Silvester, executive chair of the Nottingham Civic Society, said: "The area is a good area for it as it would not impact the historic city centre of Nottingham.

"We would always like to see derelict land used and the previous building was just a 1960's block, and it doesn't seem to overlook any residential, private properties.

"It's not the largest student building we've seen but the scale does seem quite intensive and they may be some impact on the Canning Circus conservation area.

"The only concerns would be the height of the building and the number of new residents, 800 or so extra people is a lot for the transport and services of a neighbourhood."

The plans have also been touted to boost the "growing hub" of independent businesses across from the site by the East Midlands Chamber, which which connects businesses to funding, skills and experts to help them grow.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “The future of our cities is going to involve a healthy combination of living, working and leisure, so bringing a major residential development to such a well-located area in Nottingham can only be a good thing.

“Alfreton Road is a key arterial route that is undergoing significant regeneration, so I’m sure the growing hub of independent businesses in this area will be very excited about the potential arrival of hundreds of young people – not to mention bring a new lease of life to a neglected site on their doorstep, which helps to offer a more appealing impression to visitors and passers-by.

“Students are hugely important to the city’s make-up – not only do they contribute to the community and making it a vibrant place to live, but they also spend money throughout the week both in suburban areas and the city centre, playing an integral role in sustaining the businesses used by the general population.”

The planning application, submitted by Olympian Homes, is currently pending consideration by Nottingham City Council.

Joshua Hartley - Nottingham Evening Post