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Plans for Norwich's Earlham Hall unveiled

Earlham Hall.

Earlham Hall.

©Archant Photographic 2010

An ambitious blueprint to revamp historic Earlham Hall and to create a flagship Enterprise Centre at the University of East Anglia has been unveiled to the public.

People got the chance to see the UEA’s proposals for the 430-year-old Earlham Hall and its surroundings at a public exhibition yesterday.

The UEA revealed last year how it planned to grow over the next 20 years, but the new blueprint puts flesh on the bones of its expansion plans.

Under the proposals, the Grade II* listed Earlham Hall, along with its courtyard and associated buildings, would be repaired and refurbished.

A year ago, the university bought the hall, on the edge of Earlham Park, and some adjacent land, from Norwich City Council for £700,000.

The building, which dates back to 1580, had housed the School of Law, but that was moved into temporary accommodation, when structural problems were found.
But the university plans to restore and adapt the hall and bring it back into use for the university, while still allowing public access.

The UEA has also submitted a bid for European funding for a 3,000sq m building which would include a new “exemplar” Enterprise Centre.

That centre would link in with the nearby Norwich Research Park and encourage the growth of small and medium sized businesses, accommodating about 170 jobs when running at full capacity.

The centre would be built on the site of the former CityCare depot near to Earlham Hall.

An architectural competition is to be launched and the successful plan will form the basis of a planning application due to be lodged within the next year.

Nearby redundant glasshouses could also be used for future expansion, with plans for a new pedestrian and cycle route through the campus.

Norwich-based property consultants Bidwells held a public exhibition at the UEA’s Sportspark yesterday and members of the project team said there had been a stream of visitors.

Glyn Davies, from Bidwells, said: “We have had people who were born there and people who went to school there.
“This is all about getting the building back into use in a way which is sympathetic to it. That’s what people have been most concerned about, as well as keeping Earlham Park.

“We seem to be on the right lines, but we are listening to what people tell us and will look at the responses they leave for us.”

The exhibition will move to City Hall from Monday, August 8 until Friday, August 12, with the consultation running until Friday, September 2.

Further details are available by visiting www.norwich.gov.uk and clicking on the current consultations button.

• Do you have memories of Earlham Hall? Tell us your recollections by writing to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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