The rebuild of Anglia Square may finally have been confirmed but local shop owners say they have been left in the dark about when work will start.

Plans to demolish the shopping precinct in Norwich's NR3 area were approved in April, along with a disused cinema, car park and the dilapidated Sovereign House office block.

That will see 1,100 homes built but shopkeepers say they have heard nothing since, despite Weston Homes saying they intend to start works in the final three months of this year.

The approval came after a long-running saga came to an end at an eight-hour Norwich City Council planning committee meeting, which will see 1,100 homes built across 12 blocks, ranging in height from two to eight storeys and built across a number of phases.   

At the YMCA charity shop, boss Caroline Ashby - who previously backed new homes to replace Sovereign House, which was formerly home to the Stationary Office, as long as they did not impact shops - said the business was keen to remain in the area but she had heard nothing.

Norwich Evening News: Caroline Ashby, manager of the YMCA charity shopCaroline Ashby, manager of the YMCA charity shop (Image: Sonya Duncan)

She said: "We know we're going to have to move but we've got no date yet. We found out last minute.

"It'd be horrendous if they just marched in here one day and said 'pack up'.

"We all know it needs knocking down but it's a shame they have to break up the community.

"We'll enjoy it while we last."

At Cafe on the Corner, which has stood in various guises since the shopping centre first opened in July 1970, boss Frank Harding said he is also facing uncertainty about how he will be impacted and when.

Norwich Evening News: Frank Harding at the Cafe on the CornerFrank Harding at the Cafe on the Corner (Image: Newsquest)

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He said: "We've been told absolutely nothing, you probably know more than us.

"I think we're in phase two, so we should be alright for a couple of years because some of the chain shops have been offered a two-year lease, while others haven't.

Norwich Evening News: The Cafe on the CornerThe Cafe on the Corner (Image: Newsquest)

"They seem to know more than us independents."

Earnie's Zero Waste Shop, opposite the cafe, only moved into the square two years ago after leaving its shop in Magdalen Street but is now facing uncertainty due to the new plans.

Norwich Evening News: Earnie's Zero Waste ShopEarnie's Zero Waste Shop (Image: Newsquest)

Shop assistant, Louise Smith, said: "We're hoping we'll be offered an empty shop on the street behind but we haven't been kept in the loop at all.

"It's quite disappointing after only moving in recently."

Bosses at Robert Brand Fruits, which has also been based in the area for years, said they were intending to take things as they came.

Norwich Evening News: Robert Brand FruitsRobert Brand Fruits (Image: Newsquest)

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One of the shop's workers said: "Who knows what will happen, we've not even reached the first phase yet.

"We'll probably be alright for a few years as I think they're taking the other buildings down first.

"At the minute, no news is good news." 

Norwich Evening News: An artist's impression of the Anglia Square community hubAn artist's impression of the Anglia Square community hub (Image: Weston Homes)

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Developer Weston Homes, along with investment firm Columbia Threadneedle, will also construct 8,000sqm of commercial space, a community hub and 450 car parking spaces on the land.

Weston Homes did not respond to a request for comment, leaving the local firms waiting for details on how the work will impact their sites, their customers and the local area.

Norwich Evening News: Anglia Square in Norwich's NR3 areaAnglia Square in Norwich's NR3 area (Image: Newsquest)

READ MORE: City folk in favour of Anglia Square plans

Work is planned to last eight years with hopes it will be completed by August 2031.

When asked at the start of the year, the majority of Anglia Square shoppers backed demolition on at least part of the site saying "it needs to go".

A poll ran by this newspaper found 76pc of readers backed the demolition works.

Norwich Evening News: A model of the proposed Anglia Square redevelopmentA model of the proposed Anglia Square redevelopment (Image: Tim Dew)