Homes plan for former Start-Rite shoe factory site rejected

Former Start-Rite factory site in Norwich

The former Start-Rite site in Mousehold Lane, Norwich - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Plans to turn part of a former Norwich shoe factory site into retirement flats have been rejected.

Birmingham-based developers Housing 21 had asked Norwich City Council for permission to build 45 apartments on part of the site off Mousehold Lane which was once home to Start-Rite shoes.

But City Hall planners have turned down the proposals, saying they would leave the area 'overdeveloped'.

Building work is already under way on another area of the site for a 79-bed care home, to be operated by Avery Healthcare.

Housing 21 had previously secured permission for 42-assisted living apartments, but decided to seek permission for the alternative scheme featuring the 45 retirement flats.

The flats would have been in an L-shaped, three storey block of one and two bedrooms flats.

Housing 21 had said, in its application, that the flats would have been available to rent by the over-55s, but prioritised for over-65s.

A cycle and pedestrian path to nearby Templemere would have been built, as well as 21 car parking spaces and a communal garden for residents.

But in a report, City Hall officers said: "The scale and intensity of the 45 dwellings proposed fails to positively respond to the site constraints and consequently would unacceptably harm the character and amenity of the surrounding area.

Most Read

"Whilst it is acknowledged that the redevelopment of this vacant brownfield site would have benefits for the local area and that the 45 dwellings would make a contribution to local housing supply, these benefits are not so significant as to outweigh the harm the scale and density of development would cause to the local area."

Officers also gave further reasons for rejection, including that the design of the scheme does not "create a welcoming place or safe and legible spaces to navigate" and that a "significant" number of flats would suffer from "poor quality amenity".

The Start-Rite warehouse at Mousehold Lane, Norwich

Inside the Start-Rite building at Mousehold Lane in 1981. - Credit: Archant

The former Start-Rite factory, closed in 2004 and was mostly destroyed by a blaze in 2005.

Before the site was levelled, the factory had become an eyesore and a magnet for vandals, who smashed windows and found their way into the dilapidated building.

Start-Rite factory on Mousehold Lane, Norwich

The former Start-Rite factory, before demolition - Credit: Liz Reynolds