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Joy for school and residents as plan for 152 student flats in Norwich is turned down

PUBLISHED: 18:40 08 March 2018 | UPDATED: 14:15 10 March 2018

Dukes Palace Wharf in Norwich. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Dukes Palace Wharf in Norwich. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

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Residents of Dukes Palace Wharf applauded today as a proposal to build student accommodation in a city riverside car park was turned down.

The site next to the Premier Inn in Duke Street where student accommodation could be built. Pic: Dan Grimmer. The site next to the Premier Inn in Duke Street where student accommodation could be built. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

The proposed building was to have housed 152 students on nine floors in what is currently Premier Travel Inn’s car park on Duke Street.

Fourteen people spoke in opposition to the application at Norwich City Council’s planning committee meeting at City Hall today.

A major point of concern for the councillors was the building’s proximity to Jane Austen College.

The committee heard that the school and sixth form would suffer from a loss of light, and with student bedrooms facing the college, be exposed to safe-guarding risks.

James Goffin, head of communications at the college, said: “Children should not be learning or playing in the dark.”

However most speakers at the meeting were residents of Dukes Palace Wharf, a residential building 25m across the river.

The majority of speakers agreed that being in the city centre meant the site must be developed, but not on the scale proposed.

Many residents argued that they would suffer from a loss of light and privacy, especially those living with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, and balconies.

However the applicant’s case officer David Parkin and agent disagreed, saying that the two buildings were too far apart for loss of privacy, and highlighting that the curved nature of Dukes Palace Wharf would prevent extensive shadows.

There were also concerns about the impact on river wildlife, including swans, bats and a pair of otters.

Councillors voted unanimously against the proposal on the grounds that it would not ensure satisfactory living and working conditions, and would not deliver high quality design.

Councillor Hugo Malik said: “Developers are seeing student accommodation as a current fad to make money from. We have to look at this in the long term.”

The planning committee also unanimously approved a separate application to convert the nearby St Crispin’s House office block into 600 student rooms.

The decision was made on the conditions that extra transport infrastructure would be provided for the students, and that nearby elderly residents would not be inconvenienced, especially during the night.

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