Transformation of Norwich’s Westlegate House could see it turned into flats

Norwich's Westlegate House could be converted into flats as part of a scheme to breathe new life into the city centre, it has emerged.

The 11-storey tower, considered by some as one of the ugliest buildings in the city centre, has stood empty for 15 years, but was finally bought in the summer.

It was bought by Norwich-based FW Properties and London-based Soho Estates in the summer, but those companies were tight-lipped at the time as to what the future might hold.

However, city councillors yesterday got a flavour of what the future might hold for the tower when the new owners and architects outlined their vision for the landmark building.

Julian Wells, pictured, who runs Prince Of Wales Road-based FW Properties with partner Ian Fox, said the intention was to submit a planning application by the end of the year. The pair revealed that those plans could involve creating 14 flats in the tower itself, with a new retail unit at the bottom and a refurbishment for the next door Grade II listed thatched Cassacio's Cafe.

There could be a further three homes above the retail unit and another two mews houses in the space between Westlegate and Timberhill. Mr Wells said: 'This is a real transformation of a city centre eyesore into a fantastic new statement for the city in incredibly difficult financial times.'

He said the aim was for the tower to play a key role in regenerating the area, with improvements to the surrounding areas an 'integral part' of the scheme.

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If planning permission is secured, the owners hope work on the tower and the surrounding improvements can start in spring next year.

Do you want to see the tower turned into flats? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email