The below is a letter sent to the Sunday Telegraph by Robert Ware, chief executive of The Conygar Investment Company, in response to an article by that appeared in the paper on Sunday, 19 September.
While I found James Frayne to be spot-on with most of his findings in his article Come and visit my decaying hometown, Michael Gove, I felt it lacked recognition of Nottingham’s ambition and the motivation of private investors and developers, such as ourselves, to achieve a new era for the city.
It’s true, the once bustling high street and city centre are a backdrop to boarded-up shops and empty pubs. But, let’s be honest, scenes like this are common post-pandemic, particularly across the north. Yes, ‘The Queen of the Midlands’ may have lost its lustre in recent years, but huge change is coming.
In 2016, the Conygar Investment Company PLC purchased the 36-acre former Boots headquarters which had lain derelict for more than two decades. Now The Island Quarter is emerging there – a £1 billion transformation creating homes, offices, green space and leisure opportunities.
To ensure the progress of this exciting large-scale development, we have worked with Nottingham City Council to be included in its bid for the Levelling Up Fund to accelerate our building programme and ensure the city can rise from the pandemic, proud and successful. The people of Nottingham, known for being disruptive and bold – and yes, sometimes cynical – got behind us too, pledging their overwhelming support with 200 letters in just 48 hours.
Government should not forget mid-sized cities like Nottingham – they should be central to their Levelling Up decisions. With the backing of ambitious private sector developers, this core city can and will make the most of itself – and won’t be overlooked again. We would encourage everyone to visit and see Nottingham and its future for themselves.
CEO, The Conygar Investment Company PLC