Wakey wakey! Church bells pose dilemma to swanky flats plan

Plans are afoot to build accommodation above Next opposite St Peter Mancroft. Pictured inset is Neville Kaimu 

Plans are afoot to build accommodation above Next opposite St Peter Mancroft. Pictured inset is Neville Kaimu - Credit: Ben Hardy

Ding dong!

Building boffins who have drawn up a plan to put fancy apartments above the current Next store may have overlooked one key flaw.

Plans are afoot to build accommodation on top of the Next store in Hay Hill where the freehold expires in less than four years. 

However if the blueprints came to fruition then incoming tenants would be living directly opposite the St Peter Mancroft Church - which frequently rings out jolly bells to call people to service. 

Revd Canon Edward Carter, vicar at the church, said there would be engagement from the church during a consultation process when the impact of the bells would be discussed. 

Rev Canon Edward Carter, vicar at St Peter Mancroft, in the church as it is made ready to welcome pe

Revd Canon Edward Carter, vicar at St Peter Mancroft - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2020

He added: "The bells are rung several times in the week. 

"Bell ringing is very much part of the heritage of the church and the heritage of the city centre so we would want to continue supporting that." 

The Next store in Norwich's Hay Hill 

The Next store in Norwich's Hay Hill - Credit: Ben Hardy

The church works closely with The Forum nearby and other stakeholders to minimise any disruption when events take place in the busy part of the city.

Folk were asked if they would mind living so close to ringing church bells. 

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Kevin Baxter, 65, holds a different view and believes the Hay Hill building is not ideal for accommodation.

He said: "I would probably get annoyed by the bells because they do get rung for quite a long time. 

"It lends itself more to retail and I want to see more shops in the centre." 

However John Menzies, 80, said: "I would not object to that. I quite like the sound of bells so I would welcome it."

John Menzies with the Next store in Hay Hill behind him 

John Menzies with the Next store in Hay Hill behind him - Credit: Ben Hardy

Neville Kaimu, 36, said: "People like the buzz and noise of the city centre. I am surprised by the number of people who like noise all the time. It excites them." 

Neville Kaimu in Hay Hill in Norwich city centre 

Neville Kaimu in Hay Hill in Norwich city centre - Credit: Ben Hardy

Hydo Joy, 34, added: "If people do not like the noise then they should move to somewhere calmer outside the city." 

A 63-year-old woman, who did not wish to be named, said: "If I was 20 years younger I would like to live in a busy, cosmopolitan place but not now.

The Next store and St Peter Mancroft in Norwich 

The Next store and St Peter Mancroft in Norwich - Credit: Ben Hardy

"We actually live near a church in the countryside and I like to hear the bells."