Cathedral backs plea to save potential Anglia Square medieval church

West front of Norwich Cathedral sen through the Erpingham Gate. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral/Bill S

Norwich Cathedral - Credit: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

Norwich Cathedral has backed calls for the possible remains of a medieval church to be spared demolition, if the multi-million pound revamp of Anglia Square goes ahead.

A new bid to get planning permission for the Norwich shopping centre redevelopment was lodged with the city council last month.

Developers Weston Homes and site owner Columbia Threadneedle propose up to 1,100 homes at the 11.5-acre site.

Anglia Square concept plans

Concept art for the Anglia Square revelopment - Credit: Weston Homes

But campaigners are worried that a warehouse building, near Botolph Street, would be knocked down.

Barn in Norwich which may contain remains of St Olave's Church

The barn and retaining wall which is believed to include the medieval remains of St Olave's Church - Credit: Mark Wilson

Experts believe unusual coursed flintwork on a warehouse there was once part of the retaining wall of the medieval parish church of St Olave's.

Dedicated to the 11th century Norwegian king St Olaf, the church and its churchyard are long gone, having disappeared in the 16th century.

Flint warehouse in Norwich

Experts believe the remains of St Olave's Church are within the wall of this warehouse near Anglia Square - Credit: Mark Wilson

But campaigners SAVE Britain's Heritage and Norwich Historic Churches Trust believe the flintwork is a significant survival, so the building should be saved.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain’s Heritage, had called for the building to be listed.

Henrietta Billings, from SAVE Britain's Heritage.

Henrietta Billings, from SAVE Britain's Heritage. - Credit: SAVE Britain's Heritage

And that has won support from those who look after the city's most significant medieval place of worship - Norwich Cathedral.

West front of Norwich Cathedral sen through the Erpingham Gate. Photograph: Norwich Cathedral/Bill S

Norwich Cathedral - Credit: Norwich Cathedral/Bill Smith

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The cathedral had opposed the previous Anglia Square plans, with its 20-storey tower.

The Reverend Dr Peter Doll, canon librarian and acting dean, said, in his submission to the city council on behalf of the cathedral, that new plans were on a "more human scale" than the last ones.

Canon librarian, the Rev Dr Peter Doll

Norwich Cathedral canon librarian and acting dean, the Rev Dr Peter Doll - Credit: Norwich Cathedral / Bill Smith

But he said: "We do wish to object to the proposed demolition of the remains of the historic church of St Olave, a significant witness to the flourishing Scandinavian community and culture that preceded the Norman conquest.

"It hardly seems credible that this fabric, which survived the Second World War and the Anglia Square development, should even now be threatened with destruction.

"The remains should be protected, preserved, and interpreted for the benefit of the community."

York-based charity the Council for British Archaeology has also written to the city council, which will decide on whether the plans go ahead at a future date, that the building should be protected.

Weston Homes has not commented on the call to list the building.