24th April 2023Notthingham Community

#TIQandYOU – Placemaking


As part of The Island Quarter’s commitment to echo and represent the communities that will enjoy it in the future, the design team is holding a series of engagement sessions to gather ideas, opinions and insights that will inform its work going forward.

Led by John Morgan of masterplanner Leonard Design Architects and David Jones of planning consultant Axis PED, the sessions touch on a broad range of topics and issues and feed into The Island Quarter’s wider development strategy.

In the second of our #TIQandYOU series, we look at discussions around the placemaking and massing at The Island Quarter, including the inclusion of statement architecture.


“We want The Island Quarter to look really different and be truly creative in its approach. We don’t want another site with houses like boxes and offices – we want this site to be the new pride of Nottingham.”  
“Think about lighting of spaces. The canal is not lit and therefore can feel unsafe, but we can make our spaces feel safe in the evening by being well lit”.  
“I’ve lived in Nottingham my whole life. It’s an underwhelming arrival experience compared to other cities, and we could benefit by some taller structures to give presence.” 

Ever since Conygar purchased what is now known as The Island Quarter at the end of 2016, there has been questions about how the reimagined site would be laid out, what the mix of uses would be, and how it would integrate with the wider city of Nottingham.

From the very start, the plans for the site were for it to be truly mixed use, and for that to be successful, it was – and remains – essential to create a sense of place.

This feeling was one of the key drivers behind the decision to start the regeneration of the site with 1 The Island Quarter. By creating a piece of statement architecture, thanks to the work of Jestco + Whiles and delivery architect CPMG, 1 The Island Quarter has had a two-fold effect.

Not only has it reactivated the waterfront area and brought footfall and awareness to the site, it has also provided a statement building that acts as a gateway to the wider masterplan for The Island Quarter, one that was described as a “beacon” for the site at one of our engagement sessions.

This has been a roaring success in terms of awareness not just of Cleaver & Wake and Binks Yard, but what we are trying to achieve at The Island Quarter as a whole.

We have also benefitted from a really strong relationship with the Canal and River Trust, with whom we have worked with as part of the Nottingham Canal Improvement Partnership to bring more life to Nottingham’s canalfront, helping better link TIQ with West Bridgford to the south and the city centre to the north.

One topic that came up regularly in our engagement sessions was the plans for tall buildings and statement architecture at The Island Quarter. While the site sits within a designated Tall Building Zone within Nottingham’s Local Plan, we are mindful that the city as a whole is comparatively low level – among the UK’s Core Cities group, Nottingham’s tallest building is the smallest of the dozen member cities.

This isn’t to say that tall buildings are off the table. We have planning permission for a 17-storey IHG hotel as part of phase 1B – adding to the sense of arrival in the south-west corner of the site – and we are working closely with Nottingham City Council on how the visual identity of the rest of The Island Quarter can match with the city’s own ambitions.

A comment from our sessions that really resonated was that The Island Quarter should be “the new pride of Nottingham”. For a city that has such amazing heritage and so many things to be proud of, that is a huge task, but it is a challenge we are well and truly ready to tackle.