Will Anglia Square redevelopment create its own new high street?

Steve Hatton, pictured inset, is the planning and design director for the Anglia Square development 

Steve Hatton, pictured inset, is the planning and design director for the Anglia Square development - Credit: Ben Hardy

Building bosses behind the multi-million pound Anglia Square redevelopment are hoping to create a satellite city centre.

Weston Homes has said it wants the swanky new shopping and housing hub to have its social identity, unique to NR3.

The developer continued its consultation process on Monday at the Maids Head Hotel, revealing further details about the bid to build up to 1,100 homes in the 11.5-acre site owned by Columbia Threadneedle.

Steve Hatton, planning and design director at Weston Homes said new plans - which have been submitted to Norwich City Council - have been tweaked based on Covid's impact on the high street.

This is in addition to scrapping the controversial 20-storey tower which organisations such as Historic England objected to due to its impact on the city skyline.

The public were invited into the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich on Monday for the Anglia Square development consultation 

The public were invited into the Maids Head Hotel in Norwich on Monday for the Anglia Square development consultation - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Hatton said: "We made a conscious decision to lose restaurants and the cinema and shift the focus to a local community centre with maybe a small pub and café rather than big retail boxes.

"The cinema was basically just a very big box and we can do other things with that space.

"There is also a lot to offer in the city centre and we do not want to compete with that." 

Steve Hatton, planning and design director of Weston Homes during the consultation in the Maids Head Hotel

Steve Hatton, planning and design director of Weston Homes during the Anglia Square public consultation in the Maids Head Hotel - Credit: Ben Hardy

The developer continued: "Anglia Square is part of the city centre but equally it is its own location.

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"It will have its own community based in its centre and we need to make sure we are serving that community and its needs."

A further reserved matters application with more insight into what the scheme will entail will be submitted by the end of the year. 

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

If planning consent is then granted, Mr Hatton estimates the construction process will take between seven to 10 years to complete. 

The director continued: "We do not want to put hoarding around the whole site because then we lose Anglia Square for several years. We want to phase it to keep Anglia Square alive for the duration of the project.

"With that comes a lot more time." 

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

Derek Williams, membership secretary for the Norwich Cycling Campaign, attended the consultation to ask the developers about the cycle lane connections which could be opened up across the city. 

Derek Williams, membership secretary for Norwich Cycling Campaign 

Derek Williams, membership secretary for Norwich Cycling Campaign - Credit: Derek Williams

Mr Williams said: "The potential is certainly there with the north south route to connect it much better than it does at the moment. 

"The other through route is Botolph Street but that is what is called a desire line because a lot of cyclists and pedestrians want to use it. 

A public consultation for the development of Anglia Square continued in the Maids Head Hotel on Monday 

A public consultation for the development of Anglia Square continued in the Maids Head Hotel on Monday - Credit: Ben Hardy

"Anything which leads traffic on a shared use area will create conflict. Shared use is a really toxic combination so I would have concerns over that. 

"Cyclist routes need to be designed as a priority rather than an add-on. But I think the scheme has a lot of potential.

"It is mostly residential and that will bring a lot of people. It could be a nice lively centre." 

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

Weston Homes has committed to build improved cycle and pedestrian routes, as well as a commitment to make a minimum of 10pc of the flats affordable housing. 

There would also be enhanced open spaces with a new public square and a small park accessible to folk.

Some commercial floorspace for independent businesses would also be offered.

Patrick Wilshire, owner of the Looses Emporium shop in Magdalen Street near Anglia Square believes the development needs to create "something different" to attract more people to the area.

Patrick Wilshire, owner of Looses Emporium in Norwich's Magdalen Street 

Patrick Wilshire, owner of Looses Emporium in Norwich's Magdalen Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

Mr Wilshire added: "This part of the city has seen a lot shut down and close. We want to see them help revitalise the area with more shops. 

"The heart has been taken out of Norwich so more parking is needed and a reason for people to come here." 

Daniel Bayat, owner of the Canary Convenience Store in Magdalen Street said: "I think welcoming more people to the area can only be a good thing.

Daniel Bayat, owner of the Canary Convenience Store in Magdalen Street 

Daniel Bayat, owner of the Canary Convenience Store in Magdalen Street - Credit: Ben Hardy

"Trade is down for us after the Covid period so we have to take this positively."