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Fresh fears over Anglia Square plans

PUBLISHED: 16:00 14 June 2010 | UPDATED: 17:17 01 July 2010

Anglia Square

Anglia Square

Developers behind the multi-million pound transformation of Norwich's Anglia Square have warned the long-awaited scheme could falter unless the city council agrees scaled back plans for the site.

Developers behind the multi-million pound transformation of Norwich's Anglia Square have warned the long-awaited scheme could falter unless the city council agrees scaled back plans for the site.

Plans for the major £100m redevelopment of the 1960s shopping centre were put on hold last year because of the credit crunch and now developers are locked in talks with Norwich City Council over the future of the scheme.

Developers Centenary Ashcroft wants to reduce the number of homes which will form part of the revamp - having already cut it from 450 to 200 last year.

Planning permission was granted in 2008, but the developer and City Hall planners are trying to thrash out a new compromise which would be accompanied by a revised planning application this summer.

Ranald Phillips, a director of Centenary Ashcroft, said another meeting with the council would take place today.

He said: “The economic climate has changed radically since the original proposals, but we are still very keen to make a start on site within the next year.

“We have a fairly realistic opportunity to procure development finance, but it all hangs on whether the council are prepared to consider the revisions we are suggesting.

“We are trying to accommodate the council's requirements, but the scheme has to be feasible.”

Mr Phillips said the developer was pressing to include fewer houses in the development as part of the revised plans. He said: “It's not a massive reduction, but one of the concerns the council has is that the number we are proposing is below the aspirations they have for the area.

“There are a quite a lot of councils around the country that recognise aspirations they had before the economic climate changed are no longer feasible.

“The choice any council has is whether to work within the new economic circumstances in order to try to ensure redevelopments are not put on ice. The inevitable result of not doing that is that some sites will simply be left as they are.”

As well as new homes, the facelift is also due to include a large supermarket - the identity of which has yet to be revealed - along with other shops, restaurants and cafes.

The square itself would be enlarged and renamed Calvert Square to signal a new dawn for the area.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “The council is still continuing to assist the developer with bringing forward revised plans for the redevelopment of the square.

“We are cautiously optimistic that there will be further consultation on the detail of the proposals over the summer in advance of a revised application for planning permission being made.”

It would be a major blow to the city if the scheme did founder, especially with the plans for 400 new homes in St Anne's Wharf under threat because the company behind them - City Living Developments - called in administrators last month.

In April the city council agreed a strategy known as the northern area action plan, which will be used as a blueprint when determining planning applications in the area.

Work is already well under way on the one-way loop known as the St Augustine's gyratory scheme, which will make St Augustine's Street one way northbound with a new link between Edward Street and Pitt Street providing a southbound route via Magpie Road for traffic heading towards the inner ring road.

• Which part of the city do you think should be improved? Write to Evening News letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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