Work to build £100m+ Norwich Asda development ‘may start in weeks’

Artist's impression of the proposed Asda at the Bally Shoe Factory in Norwich Artist's impression of the proposed Asda at the Bally Shoe Factory in Norwich

Thursday, August 7, 2014
1:50 PM

Building work on a £100m-plus Asda development is expected to start within weeks, after final blueprints were given the go ahead.

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The superstore, to be constructed on land off Hall Road, Norwich, won planning permission more than two-and-a-half years ago.

There were delays as fine detail was reviewed, but amended plans were approved by Norwich City Council’s planning committee yesterday.

Construction was anticipated to begin in late August or early September, officers said.

Asda’s vision for the former Bally shoe factory site includes a gym, a community centre, a pub, separate retail units and a car park.

In original plans, there was an S106 clause stipulating that the gym must be made available to community groups at half the usual price for 20 hours per week or to schools for free for 10 hours per week.

This clause has been scrapped as it was not deemed “viable” with the gym being run by a commercial operator.

Instead, Asda will fund a health improvement programme at the community centre to the tune of £20,400.

Agents for Morrisons, which is aiming to open a new store in nearby Neatmarket, also in Hall Road, made written representations to the council the day before the hearing.

It is understood that they did not object to proposals, but believed the original S106 clause was worth £100,000 - questioning whether the new £20,400 funding would mitigate its removal.

But the council’s neighbourhood team said the value of the clause would have depended on uptake, and the £20,400 was for a fully costed scheme.

Chris Herries, for Lakenham ward, had suggested Asda pay £55,000 over four years towards the scheme, but withdrew the proposal after learning it would force a further meeting - and potentially delay the start of the build.

Other amendments included reducing the car park from 330 spaces to 304, increasing the percentage of floor space given to non-food items from a third to 40% and minor tweaks such as improving access to the service yard.

Plans were approved, with seven votes for and four abstentions.

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