City watchdog raises concerns over plans

A heritage watchdog has welcomed plans for the �100m regeneration of Norwich's Anglia Square, but highlighted four concerns.

As reported, work to transform the 1960s shopping centre is due to start next year, should planning permission be approved, with developers Centenary Ashcroft outlining revamped plans earlier this year that include the demolition of the unloved multi-storey car park and the retention of Gildengate House.

As part of a public consultation on the plans, the Norwich Society has highlighted four concerns, whilst welcoming support for developing the site as quickly as possible on the basis that it can only improve the current situation. One of the concerns is that development of derelict, graffiti-scarred land under the nearby Magdalen Street flyover is not part of the proposals.

Society administrator Vicky Manthorpe said: 'We would urge Norwich City Council to sell the land under the flyover for development.

'This is a redundant asset that generates no income and could be sold to release a capital sum. This area disfigures Magdalen Street.'

The society has also called for section 106 documents agreed between Norwich City Council and the developers to be made public immediately and wants to see some public art for which there is no provision in the plans.

The watchdog also opposes cyclists and pedestrians sharing the north and south route through Anglia Square, and warns that a pedestrian crossing on the ring road near Calvert Street would be unworkable. It also criticises the design of the adapted/reclad Gildengate House.

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As reported, under the plans, which will be submitted to Norwich City Council for approval later this year, the multi-storey will be replaced with two-level rooftop car parking, while Gildengate will be reclad and totally updated to provide modern office facilities to enhance employment opportunities in the northern part of the city. The number of new homes at the site has been reduced from 198 to 178, but the number of affordable homes, 51, remains the same.

Most of the plans were given planning consent in 2008, including a 7,792sq m food store with 507 car parking spaces underneath, other shops, restaurants and cafes and a new health care centre, remain the same. If the new plans are approved, the demolition of the multi-storey car park and Sovereign House will be two of the first items on the agenda.

Which part of the city do you think should be improved? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email