How city's 'missing segment' could be worth tens of millions in housing
- Credit: Matt Williams/Fuel Properties
What has been described as Norwich's "missing segment" could in fact become a record-breaking addition to the city's housing market.
Developers are seeking to build 3,500 homes and create 6,000 jobs in the areas around Carrow and Trowse under the East Norwich Masterplan.
The scheme covers four sites in the same area to the southeast of the city.
These are Carrow Works, home of the former Colman's and Britvic factories, the adjacent Deal Ground, the May Gurney sites in Trowse and the Utilities site between Thorpe Hamlet and Whitlingham.
Although many of the homes would be built on available brownfield sites such as Carrow Works, the scheme would also see new homes near marshland alongside the river.
Matt Williams, a member of the Norwich Society’s strategic planning and transport committee, said: "The developers see this very much as bridge between the industrial part of Norwich and Whittlingham moving into a more rural, village setting.
"This has been the missing segment in an otherwise circular development of Norwich where three rivers merge to the southeast of the city.
"If you think of a clock, this segment has been like the three and four o'clock hands which have never been developed on."
The development boffin continued: "It is quite marshy so it could historically never be built on but there is now the modern engineering to get around that these days."
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The city council has given its approval to the latest version of the masterplan last month which was a joint approach by consultants on behalf of all the landowners.
A public consultation will be put out in due course with more of the finer details of the scheme outlined.
Ben Allman, director of Ben Allman Estate and Letting Agents, estimates that developing in this missing segment could be "record-breaking" in terms of its value to the city's housing market.
Mr Allman said: "I think the demand would be great as some of the most popular areas in Norwich include Bracondale, Trowse and Poringland. There would a market for that.
"You are looking at a really vast sum of money.
"To put it into perspective, a recent plot in Sprowston and Rackheath which was 60 acres cost £80m."
The Carrow Works site alone is more than 30 acres in itself.
Peter Colby, a retired estate agent and property auctioneer living in the city, agreed with Mr Allman.
He said: "Unless it was overdeveloped I would have thought that area as a whole would be attractive subject to conditions such as traffic."
The Norwich Society is in support of the holistic nature of the East Norwich Masterplan, believing a joined-up approach to infrastructure across four sites is a positive move.
Mr Williams added: "That site could be really special because it is absolutely uniquely and brilliantly located close to Norwich city centre.
"We do not want to see more of the same as has been the case with the rectangular blocks which have been built in the past along the river. This has created a canyon-like effect on the river.
"This plan would create an interface between the city and rural areas such as Whitlingham.
"Riverside development has been quite bland and poor whereas this could be really special in terms of sustainability."
The Norwich Society also believes the masterplan would promote new cycle routes connecting Trowse and Whitlingham via Carrow Road into the city.
This would then reduce dependency on cars, it added.
While some sites are likely to come forward sooner than others, it will take many years for all of the sites to come forward and be developed according to the city council.
Developer Fuel Properties - which is behind the Carrow Works site - has submitted a separate planning application which is understood to be part of a contractual agreement with the previous owner.
The Norwich Society is calling for there to be a cohesive approach rather than allowing the Carrow Works site to go ahead separately.
Fuel Properties has been contacted for comment.