'Dated' office building dogged by doorway drug use could be turned into flats

The current building on Ferry Road is run down and is often dogged by reports of antisocial behaviour and drug use at night

The current building is run down and is often dogged by reports of antisocial behaviour and drug use at night - Credit: Google

A Norfolk developer is planning to "regenerate" a dilapidated building plagued by antisocial behaviour and doorway drug use into a "striking" office and residential space near Norwich's Prince of Wales Road.

FW Properties Ltd, owned by "Norfolk boys" Julian Wells and Ian Fox, is awaiting decision on submitted plans to Norwich City Council to redevelop the building at 1 Ferry Road near Norwich Train Station.

Despite being the head office of Feilden+Mawson Architects since 1970, the plans say the building in its current form desperately needs improvement.

The view of the building from Riverside Road in Norwich

The view of the building from Riverside Road in Norwich - Credit: Google

In the application's accompanying design and access statement, developers say they plan to add an additional storey on top of the existing four-storeys. The ground-floor level will then contain "modern" office space and levels one to four will contain ten market-value duplex flats.

Feilden+Mawson, which was considering vacating the building due to its poor condition, has agreed to occupy the new office space once completed.

The statement explains that the building's external walls and roof are leaking, windows are rusting and breaking and inadequate insulation qualities mean the building "wouldn't meet the standards" of today.

It also says the "immediate environment" around the building can be "hostile and unwelcoming" at night, with people frequently using the doorways to take drugs during quieter hours.

The new vision for the old office block on Ferry Road in Norwich

The new vision for the old office block on Ferry Road in Norwich - Credit: FW Properties/ Feilden+Mawson Architects

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Julian Wells, co-owner at FW Properties, said: "We're excited about the prospect of refurbishing and improving this dated and run down building into a striking residential and office space.

"This is a totally sustainable venture: we aren't getting rid of the building but giving it a new lease of life."

Mr Wells added: "We're both Norfolk boys, and run a local company which does development properly.

"We did up Westlegate Tower and other residential properties around Norwich, and we're excited to do a really good job on this one too."

The new vision for the old office block on Ferry Road in Norwich

The new vision for the old office block on Ferry Road in Norwich - Credit: FW Properties/ Feilden+Mawson Architects

There have been four objections to the plans online, though none from Norwich City Council's tree protection officer or the Norwich Society, which says it is "pleased the building is being repaired and reused".

Neighbours, on the other hand, say the additional floor and flats will block their sunlight and violate privacy due to overlooking, as well as putting further pressure on parking in the area. 

Mr Wells, however, said he hoped the project would "revitalise and have a beneficial impact" on this part of the city. 

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