Multi-million arena plan given green light and set to open in 2022
- Credit: Ellis Williams Architects
A multi-million pound plan to build a state-of-the art venue in the heart of Norwich has been approved.
A grotty car park in Mountergate will now be transformed with a 300-seater auditorium, stage and food court named Block Norwich.
Developers - which will spend £1m on the initial phase of the project - were given the green light by city planners today.
James Bradbury, managing director of Teampartner Three which lodged the proposal, said: "We're over the moon. We're relieved and humbled to be offered the opportunity to rejuvenate this part of Norwich.
"Mountergate used to be a fish market - it's a place steeped in history. But in recent memory it's become shackled by it's past, Block Norwich presents this area with the chance to break these shackles and make it an area of Norwich that the whole city can be proud of."
Block Norwich had previously been earmarked to bring 50 new jobs to the area, as well as a windfall to the local economy.
Research conducted by the developers found that at a similar project, Pop Brixton, on average people spent £10 at the venue and a further £5 in the wider community.
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Around 50pc of visitors to the venue also visited other locales in the towns.
Mr Bradbury added: "We will start recruiting for those 50 jobs in due course. But what this planning permission means is that now we can sit down with our investors and see if there's anything more we can put in to maximise opportunities."
Previously the Mountergate area has been a crime hotspot after a drug den was discovered nearby.
Mr Bradbury said: "It will be brilliant to make this space a safe, clean environment for everyone to enjoy. It will be brightly lit with good access and security guards on hand patrolling the scene.
"We'll also be working closely with people who live nearby to have a check in every month to uncover any issues they might be having, or see if there's anything to do to improve."
The venue is set to open at Easter.
He added: "We'd like to thank Norwich City Council for their support."