Nottingham's restored and improved station has won a prestigious new national award - and its inspired mix of old and new is signalling the delivery of the city's £1.5 billion-plus infrastructure improvements while stimulating development all around it.
The station's sensitive and sympathetic £60m restoration has won the inaugural Crossrail Award for Urban Heritage, presented by Sir Peter Hendy, Commissioner of Transport for London at the National Railway Heritage Awards.
The brand-new Urban Heritage Award recognised what the judging panel called "the thorough restoration of the Porte Cochere and other work at Nottingham station," and is shared by the Nottingham Station project partners - Nottingham City Council, Network Rail and East Midlands Trains.
David Horne, Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: "The Urban Heritage Award is fitting recognition of the hard work, dedication and skill of many people who helped to deliver this world-class transport hub in the heart of Nottingham.
"The new Nottingham station offers much-improved facilities for passengers, including integrated transport options, a new range of shops and cafes as well as the stunning restoration of the station's Edwardian frontage.
"We have already received plenty of positive feedback from our passengers about the new Nottingham station and we look forward to it continuing to serve the city for generations to come."
Councillor Jane Urquhart, the City Council's Portfolio Holder for Planning and Transportation, said: "This is a great accolade for the station redevelopment and brings wider recognition to what we are aiming for in creating a world-class transport hub with the kind of connectivity other cities envy."
The recent official opening of Nottingham's restored and improved station signals the delivery of a vital part of the city's £1.5 billion-plus infrastructure improvements. Now these improvements are beginning to show their worth to the city, stimulating wider developments destined to boost jobs and growth.
Nottingham's multiple transport improvements, including the £60m station restoration and the £570m NET tram extension opening next year, are proving to be a catalyst for development, with the area around the station fast becoming a hot spot as developers have taken note.
"The station area has become a magnet for both commercial and residential schemes, including flats and student accommodation, said Councillor Urquhart. "The restored, improved station and the tram extension are sending out the message - 'property owners, here's your opportunity.'"
The transport improvements also include:
£100m invested in new signalling and rail track in and around the station as well as a new platform in the station itself.
£16.2m improvements to increase capacity and reduce congestion on Nottingham's Ring Road plus new and better facilities for cyclists and pedestrians.
The £150m dualling of the A453 trunk road, linking the city to the motorway network.
Regeneration is now a priority for landowners and developers all around the station in the Southern Gateway area, broadly stretching from the Broadmarsh Centre to The Meadows - "great news for jobs and growth," said Councillor Urquhart.
The wider picture beyond the station includes
The proposed £150m Broadmarsh redevelopment.
The multi-million pound City Skills Hub proposed to be built on wasteland east of the Broadmarsh Centre and designed to equip the workforce of the future with the skills employers need.
The £20m plan to develop Unity Square, with Phase 1 of the scheme creating 50-60,000 sq. ft. of Grade 'A' office space and a 140-bed hotel. The City Council is at the forefront in stimulating this regeneration, taking 25,000 sq. ft. of space.
Further development earmarked for the nearby Crocus Place and Hilton sites, the latter having been recently acquired by the City Council to improve development prospects and prevent it being sold off piecemeal.
The £700,000 Heritage Lottery funded restoration of shop frontages on Carrington Street to reinstate the street's original character and reinforce the link between the restored station and the city centre.
"The proposed office developments will together form a new mini business district on the doorstep of the city centre. Properties and development sites around the station which have been only marginally viable for years are seeing their prospects transformed," said Councillor Urquhart.
"The station's 'constructive conservation', restoring its Edwardian former glories whilst ensuring that its features function efficiently today, is proving to be a powerful catalyst for high-quality development."
Research by English Heritage revealed the greater historical significance of Nottingham Station as a building, resulting in a better understanding of how to adapt and restore it for modern needs. Uniquely for a UK station, Nottingham's had been modelled on Grand Central Station, New York, and further influenced by New York's long-demolished Penn Station.
Recognising the design as a rarity of national importance saw English Heritage lift the station's listed building status from Grade II to the much rarer Grade II Star, while the Railway Heritage Trust invested £265,000 in the restoration.
And as the 7m visitors and commuters who use Nottingham Station each year enjoy the much-improved gateway to the city, a large proportion access it via Carrington Street, where the heritage shop front improvements will help reconnect the station to the city centre.
City visitors also have the prospect of the £24m scheme to develop Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery as a world-class heritage attraction. This scheme is already earmarked for £12.9m of Heritage Lottery funding and will bring in a projected 400,000 visitors a year, doubling the current number, with a projected additional visitor spend of £77m over the next 10 years.
Said Councillor Urquhart: "The prospects for Nottingham have never been more exciting than they are now, not only for future growth and employment but also for the visual appeal that will be evident to every visitor and anyone who lives or works in the city.
"And of course, none of this would have been possible without the £12m cash injection from the Workplace Parking Levy which attracted further funding to redevelop the station. We really have something to celebrate here, a world-class integrated transport hub is being created that opens up Nottingham to greater prosperity while at the same time displaying our architectural heritage to the benefit of everyone who lives here or comes here."