A new approach is needed to make a revamp of Anglia Square more palatable to Norwich, say opponents of the £271m scheme, the fate of which now rests in the hands of the government.
A planning inquiry has been triggered into Norwich City Council’s decision to grant permission to Weston Homes for the redevelopment of the shopping complex.
The city council planning committee voted, by seven votes to five, to approve the scheme, in December, but communities secretary James Brokenshire has called-in the matter.
That was triggered by Historic England. Other objectors included the Norwich Society, the St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association, the Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine’s Forum and the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral, who raised concerns over the impact of the development, with its 20-storey tower, on Norwich’s character.
The plans would see the shopping centre and neighbouring Sovereign House demolished, replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a cinema, car parks, a 200-bed hotel and a new home for Surrey Chapel.
Phillipa Clements, treasurer of the Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustine’s Forum, said: “The community made its views clear that a high rise development of such density was inappropriate to the area.
“The forum very much hopes that the developers rethink the project and revise the development proposal to produce a scheme that is a good neighbour to the surrounding communities.”
Paul Burall, vice-chair of The Norwich Society, said: “My hope now is that the community, landowner and city council can get together to agree a new approach that will bring much-wanted new homes but with a much higher standard of accommodation and architecture than that proposed previously.
“We would hope the city council might consider putting some of its property development money into a scheme, perhaps with a major social housing provider.”
Weston Homes has said there will be “a period of reflection and consultation” before deciding what course of action to take next.
There will now be public hearings in Norwich, before an inspector makes a recommendation to the communities secretary.
Source: Eastern Daily Press