Anglia Square tower block 'absurd', says watchdog

PUBLISHED: 12:40 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 12:40 02 August 2019

Anglia Square.

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

The proposed revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square shopping centre would cause considerable harm to the surrounding area, and is completely out-of-character with Norwich, according to a civic watchdog.

The current Anglia Square v the new plans. Photos: Antony Kelly/Weston HomesThe current Anglia Square v the new plans. Photos: Antony Kelly/Weston Homes

Next year will see a planning inquiry take place over controversial plans to redevelop Anglia Square.

The inquiry, which is due in January, has come about after the communities secretary James Brokenshire decided to call in the matter after it was approved by Norwich City Council in December last year.

Now, in its submission to the inquiry, The Norwich Society has slammed the proposed £271m scheme and the impact it and its 20-storey tower would have on Norwich's character.

Setting out its objections to the development, the watchdog said the proposals did not meet a number of government planning guidelines, including those for affordable housing.

Anglia Square.
Picture: ANTONY KELLYAnglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

"There are no affordable houses to be provided in the first phase and only 47 in the second. There is no financial guarantee that later phases of the scheme will ever be completed as this is dependent on the future economic environment," it said.

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Arguing the mix of proposed accommodation was too narrow, the society said the "concentration of flats will neither promote a mixed and balanced community, nor meet the needs of local people" and that the proposed density of dwellings would be "totally out of proportion for Norwich".

It also said the justification for the development's tower block was "absurd": "The idea that people need a residential tower to orient themselves is absurd: local people will know where they are anyway and visitors will have no idea of the relationship of the tower to where they wish to go."

The watchdog has also commented on the impact the tower block would have on views across the city, especially when compared to the cathedral spire; "From Mousehold Avenue, the report states that the proposed tower appears lumpen and its visible bulk would be equal to the slender cathedral spire and central to the view, thereby detracting from the cathedral."

The planning inquiry, starting on January 28, will consider evidence from Norwich City Council, the developers and interested parties.

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