Anglia Square: Five shopping centre revamps which could inspire new plans

A 20-storey tower is part of the mooted revamp of Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes

The scrapped plans for Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

Developers behind the revamp of Anglia Square in Norwich have pledged to go back to the drawing board to come up with a new scheme.

Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle say they will work with the community, including critics of their scrapped £271m scheme, to come up with fresh proposals.

But could other shopping centre developments provide a template for a scheme more likely to get backing?

Here, we look at other UK examples of where shopping centres have been redeveloped - and how they fared.

1. Southgate, Bath

Bath Southgate

Bath Southgate. - Credit: ACME/Flickr

One of the reasons the £271m Anglia Square scheme was ultimately rejected by local government secretary Robert Jenrick was because of the height of the 20-storey tower and the massing of the scheme.

That, Mr Jenrick said, would have been “uncharacteristic” in the Norwich City Centre Conservation Area and did not fit with policy.


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The Bath Southgate scheme is within the Bath Conservation Area and within a World Heritage Site.

The £360m scheme, now 11 years old, was 15 years in the making and transformed a rundown area of 1970s architecture.

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It includes shops, restaurants, some 90 apartments and more than 800 car parking spaces underground.

The scheme won The Georgian Group Architectural Giles Worsley Award for a “New Building in Georgian Context” and a British Council of Shopping Centres Gold Award.

However, it did not escape criticism. Historian, travel writer and journalist Jan Morris had said: "There is nothing offensive to the entirely mercenary Southgate project, but alas, it too is a bit of a bore."

2. Princesshay, Exeter.

Princesshay Exeter

Pincesshay, Exeter. - Credit: EG Focus/Flickr

Like Norwich, Exeter is a cathedral city. And, like Norwich, it was a target of the Baedeker raids in the Second World War.

The Princesshay shopping precinct was built in the 1950s to replace damaged city centre buildings.

Starting in 2005, part of that precinct was knocked down to make way for a new, modern, shopping centre.

There were concerns about the impact of the development on Exeter Cathedral and the scheme attracted controversy, with 10 councillors voting against granting it permission.

After it opened in 2007, it won the Supreme Gold Award from the British Council of Shopping Centres.

It includes shops, a department stores, restaurants and more than 120 homes.

3. Westgate, Oxford.

The 1970s-built shopping centre was given a revamp and extension five years ago.

Westgate in Oxford

Westgate in Oxford before redevelopment. - Credit: Anders Sandberg / Flickr

The £500m redevelopment includes about 100 new shops, restaurants, a cinema, a car park and about 60 flats.

A previous scheme was rejected by the government for not being in keeping with the historic character of Oxford.

The project won an award from the Royal Institute of British Architects in 2019, in which the judges stated: "Monumental in its ambition and scale, the design team have excelled in the way they’ve executed the fine detail.

"The outside spaces are unparalleled in a development of this massing and magnitude.

"These public spaces reward Oxford and its people with incredible views of the city’s famous roofscape and visually connect the scheme with the wider community."

Westgate Oxford

Westgate, Oxford, after the revamp. - Credit: Lizlizsmith / Flickr

However, that scheme, too had its critics. The Oxford Against Westgate Expansion group raised concerns about traffic and flooding.

4. St David's, Cardiff.

Originally opened in 1981, the Welsh capital's St David's shopping centre was revamped and extended in 2009.

St David's Market in Cardiff

St David's Market in Cardiff, which was demolished as part of the redevelopment of St David's shopping centre. - Credit: Le Kiz / Flickr

Way beyond the scale of Anglia Square, the scheme saw the creation of more than 100 new shops, 300 apartments and parking for 3,000 cars.

St David's shppping centre in Cardiff.

St David's shopping centre in Cardiff. - Credit: Daniel Grosvenor / Flickr

The expansion saw a considerable part of Cardiff's city centre, including St David's Market and the central library, demolished.

The development won the Supreme Gold Award 2010 from the British Council of Shopping Centres.

5. Broadmarsh Centre, Nottingham

Broadmarsh in Nottingham

Broadmarsh shopping centre in Nottingham. - Credit: David Skinner / Flickr

The 1970s built shopping centre has yet to be redeveloped, but has stirred up a debate over what should replace a building voted the ugliest in Nottingham shortly after it was completed.

Work to demolish the centre was under way when owners Intu, also behind Chapelfield (now Chantry Place) in Norwich, went into administration.

An independent panel has been set up by the council to recommend what to do with the site and one of the suggestions is to re-establish the old streets, with smaller, individual shops.

Anglia Square in Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglia Square - Credit: Archant


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