Council proposes new use for Government cash as Angel Row library fails to sell

The former Central Library in Angel Row, Nottingham city centre.
The former Central Library in Angel Row, Nottingham city centre. -Credit:Joseph Raynor/Nottingham Post

Nottingham City Council is considering a new plan for the nearly £4m it received from the Future High Street Fund in 2020, originally intended to transform the now-closed Angel Row library into a creative space. The project has been deemed unfeasible due to the failed sale to a developer.

With a government deadline approaching to utilise the funds, the council is proposing to reallocate the money to a new state-of-the-art NHS testing centre in the Broadgate development. The Community Diagnostic Centre, set to be operational by next spring, will offer 130,000 tests annually, including MRI scans, CTs, x-rays, ultrasounds and heart and lung testing.

Nottingham University Hospital Trust has already secured £25m of government funding for its construction. It remains unclear how the additional £3.86m will enhance the project.

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The council believes the project will revitalise six vacant units on Lister Gate and increase footfall in the city centre. Once at full capacity, the centre will employ 135 staff, including consultant radiologists, radiographers, imaging assistants, physiologists and administrators.

The Angel Row library, which shut its doors in March 2020 and remained closed following the pandemic, is under consideration for a new purpose. The council, having faced bankruptcy last year, has been attempting to sell the property in an effort to cut maintenance costs and balance its budget.

An artist's impression of the Community Diagnostic Centre near Broad Marsh
An artist's impression of the Community Diagnostic Centre near Broad Marsh -Credit:Nottingham City Council

Councillor Steve Battlemuch (Lab), who oversees the council's property, revealed that the firm previously interested in purchasing it "did not come through with the money".

In November 2023, more than three years after the closure of Angel Row, the £10m Nottingham Central Library was opened as its replacement. The CDCs are designed to expedite diagnoses for conditions such as cancer without adding extra pressure on hospitals.

Mark Simmonds, deputy medical director for Nottingham University Hospitals Trust, previously said: "This is a fantastic opportunity for the people of Nottingham and the NHS as whole to be part of the regeneration of this area.

"Delays to diagnostics are too long and this marks an opportunity to deliver greater capacity in an accessible place. People from the whole of Nottingham can benefit without coming to constrained hospital sites.

"This will be a part of the NHS on your high street. We are looking forward to getting boots on the ground."

The transfer of funds is expected to receive approval at the Executive board meeting scheduled for next week (May 21). Meanwhile, the council's other project funded by the Future High Streets Fund the £8.6m infrastructure work on Maid Marion Way is progressing as planned, with completion anticipated by spring 2025.