Proposed height of Anglia Square revamp cut by two thirds in new plans
- Credit: Weston Homes
The new tower blocks at Anglia Square would be significantly slashed in height under the latest proposals revealed by the developers.
Weston Homes unveiled their latest plans for the controversial redevelopment to the public for the first time at an event on Thursday, with a raft of changes.
Not only will the proposed height of the tallest building be just eight storeys - 60pc smaller than the 20-storey building in the original plans - but the amount of car parking spaces, homes and retail space have also been cut.
While the plans are subject to change, developer Weston Homes has promised:
- To deliver around 1,100 homes, a reduction of 100 homes on previous plans
- An unspecified amount of affordable homes
- Around 4,000sqm of retail/office space
- A new resident's hub
- New north-south cycle route
- New public toilets
- Around 4.5 acres - three football pitches - of public green space
The number of car parking spaces have been slashed dramatically, from around 1,500 to just 400.
The original plans included around 11,000sqm non-residential retail, cinema and office space, but this space has also been dramatically cut with no cinema and just 4,000sqm in the new plans.
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Weston Homes have said they are planning on holding three rounds of engagement before submitting the plans in 2022.
If their plans go as anticipated they hope to start construction later in 2022, with an expected completion date of 2033.
The plans drew a mixed reaction from the crowds who visited the public event on Thursday afternoon.
"My impression is that they've not designed this for the people it is replacing," said Don Fitzpatrick, 64.
"They've cut most of the shops off - It looks like they're doing a copy of Riverside.
"It's all up in the air at the moment, there are no concrete decisions been made."
Mr Fitzpatrick was concerned about the amount of affordable and social housing in the plans, which has not been announced yet, saying it is not a rich area.
"I'm concerned all the little shops will go and it will just be the big ones that will not be able to afford it," The Queen Elizabeth Close resident added.
"It could end up being another phone shop, Costa, Starbucks area, where will the small shops and residents go?"
However, others were more positive about the plans.
George, who asked not to use his surname, said he liked the plans and was "dismayed" when the original plans collapsed.
He said: "I just want something to happen here.
"Having lived in the area for 15 years we have put up with the site for too long.
"I think it looks interesting, it's a more spread out scheme and there are less retail units.
"You can see the logic of what they've done when so many units are empty in the city centre I'm not sure big units have a place in the plans."
While George, who lives off St Saviours Lane, had never experienced an issue, he said walking through Anglia Square at night can be quite forbidding and he hoped the plans would change that.
However, he raised concerns about the lack of parking, arguing that even people who don't drive regularly needed space for a car.
Others changed their minds on the plans, with John Howkins objecting to the original but welcoming the changes.
"I think Weston Homes have made significant improvements and have really addressed the main objections, particularly the reduction of the tower.
"That there will be no tower higher than eight storeys is a great improvement."
Mr Howkins, who has a diploma in town planning, added that the development seemed to have moved from a car-dominated site to a people dominant one.
The previous £271m scheme was approved by Norwich City Council but was rejected by the local government minister in November 2020.
Following a planning inquiry, an inspector recommended approval, but local government secretary Robert Jenrick blocked it, saying the tower was of “excessive size in relation to its context”.
Developers Weston Homes considered a legal challenge but abandoned that to devise fresh plans.