Norwich bus station site scheme could see 230 students living in city centre
06:30 09 July 2013
Almost 230 students could be living in the heart of Norwich, if plans which would transform the area around the city’s bus station get the go-ahead.
London-based Alumno Developments has lodged plans with Norwich City Council for the redevelopment of the city centre site for a scheme they have branded as All Saints Norwich.
If approved, it would see a 228-bedroom student accommodation block of up to nine storeys built on the east side of the bus station site, between the YMCA and Queens Road.
The developers, who carried out consultation earlier this year, say there is a need for student accommodation, with more than 19,000 students in higher education at the city’s two universities - the University of East Anglia and the Norwich University of the Arts.
The company also commissioned a report on the impact of higher education on Norwich’s economy, which stated that full-time students in the city spend an average of more than £10,000 a head each year on expenses such as housing costs, personal expenditure, food and entertainment, much of which goes into the city’s economy.
David Campbell, managing director of Alumno Developments, said: “Norwich has a growing reputation as a first class learning city with higher education playing a big role in the city’s community, culture and economy.
“These factors are a major reason why we are so enthusiastic about the opportunity to be able to invest in the city and I am pleased that we have submitted our planning application for new student accommodation on this key site.
“The fact that students spend over £250m per year in the city’s economy and the universities employ over 6,000 staff, nearly a tenth of the Norwich workforce, speak for themselves.”
Both the UEA and NUA have given the scheme their support in letters accompanying the application to the city council.
Roger Bond, director of estates at the UEA, said: “This would be the first purpose-built, privately developed student housing project in Norwich and will be a welcome complement to our own estates programme.”
He said the site was ideal for students, with good bus links to the UEA campus and would make Norwich even more attractive to prospective students.
Angela Robson, deputy vice-chancellor at NUA, said: “The availability of high quality student accommodation in the city is vital.
“Purpose-built developments such as this will allow NUA and the other educational institutions to grow responsibly, while also reducing the pressure on existing housing stock.”
The majority of bedrooms will be in self-contained cluster flats, with six ensuite bedrooms and a kitchen/lounge, while there would also be a small number of self-contained studios.
It would be a car free development.
The plans also seek permission to demolish numbers 52 and 54 All Saints Green, the refurbishment of Number 50 - a Grade II listed building - and the creation of a ‘pocket park’.
The proposals are likely to come before members of Norwich City Council’s planning committee later this year.