Last week we learned that the long-awaited redevelopment of Anglia Square will not go ahead, after the developer, Weston Homes, withdrew from the project. This is a terrible blow for the city.

We have lost 2,211 direct construction jobs, 288 jobs in the retail and commercial premises and more than 1,000 badly needed new homes, as well as additional spending by residents in the local economy of up to £36.4 million each year.

Norwich badly needs new homes and jobs and these are significant numbers of both. This is a bad week for everyone who cares about this city and its people.

We are left with a set of run-down buildings which were built in the 1960s and which now sit destitute and empty: the huge former HMSO building, unoccupied for 30 years; the former NCP car park, which closed around 20 years ago; and the former Odeon Cinema, which has lain empty for almost ten years.

I talk to a lot of people and it’s an accurate portrayal from those conversations that the overwhelming majority think these very large, imposing, and derelict buildings need to be taken down and the area redeveloped.

The fear is that, because the site is so complex and, therefore, expensive to develop, the crumbling buildings could sit there for many more years to come. This would lead to further deterioration, and no chance to improve one of the most deprived areas of our city, unless something very radical is done.

The city council did everything it possibly could to support the redevelopment and regeneration of the site. We were roundly criticised for this by some opposition parties at City Hall, who have opposed and delayed the redevelopment at every twist and turn.

All of my fellow elected councillors who have opposed this development must take responsibility for their part in the tragedy of the loss of so many jobs and homes and the opportunity to make a positive difference to the lives of many in this part of the city. They don’t just get to walk away.

They talk vaguely about better alternatives but have not once produced a costed, viable plan or a developer to deliver it. That is the luxury of political opposition.

I live firmly in the real world. Making difficult decisions is part of that reality. The site is complex and expensive to redevelop because the first thing any builder must do is pay for the demolition of the current buildings, before a single brick is laid, or a single home or shop is built. This means there are considerable up-front costs, which adds to borrowing costs and makes financial viability very difficult.

The Labour administration constantly warned that, if a package of financial support wasn’t put in place, so that the scheme could be made viable, the developer would simply walk away. This was strongly refuted by some opposition councillors. It is, however, exactly what has happened.

In the end, even with a package of financial support from the council and Homes England, the viability was too tight, the scheme was too risky, the finance could not be raised, and the developer did, indeed, walk away. That is the harsh economic reality which the opposition consistently denied.

The council even waived the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) on the first two phases. CIL is a charge on developer profits but, as the first two phases were to be built at a loss, there were no profits to charge and, therefore, there was no CIL to receive.

In any case, the CIL revenue is pooled across four local councils, which jointly decide where it is spent, which could be anywhere within Norwich, Broadland or South Norfolk.

So, please don’t believe the disingenuous claims that millions of pounds were lost to the local area.

Please also remember that the developer was required to pay over £4m for local infrastructure and to provide affordable housing.

But, in the end, all our efforts were not enough to save the scheme.

So, what next? The council is considering all options and I give you my firm commitment that we will do everything in our power to get a viable plan to redevelop and regenerate the site.

We do not own Anglia Square and, therefore, we still cannot choose the developer or dictate the nature of any future scheme, but we will talk to national government, and any incoming new government, about the exceptional financial support needed to make the site viable.

So, the redevelopment conundrum of Anglia Square continues. Meanwhile, the Labour-led council remains committed to building homes, creating jobs, and attracting investment to the city, for the benefit of everyone. Because that’s what we do, even when times get tough, and the decisions are not easy.

Mike Stonard is leader of Norwich City Council