Call for new Anglia Square plans to be 'best possible' for city

Sovereign House at Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Buildings at Anglia Square in Norwich. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Fresh plans for the revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square should be based around a more environmentally sustainable scheme with lower-density homes, says the city's civic watchdog.

The Norwich Society says it wants to help shape an alternative plan for the shopping complex, after developer Weston Homes scrapped its legal challenge over the rejection of its £271m revamp.

A 20-storey tower is part of the mooted revamp of Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes

The scrapped plans for Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

The Norwich Society, along with Historic England and SAVE Britain's Heritage, were among those which objected to the plans for Anglia Square.

The controversial plans, which included a 20-storey tower block, more than 1,200 new homes, a hotel, cinema, car parks and new shops, were approved by Norwich City Council, but were called in by the government.

Following a planning inquiry, an inspector recommended the scheme should go ahead, but local government secretary Robert Jenrick blocked it.

He said the massing of the individual blocks and the tower would be “uncharacteristic” in the Norwich City Centre Conservation Area and did not fit with policy.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick... tells MPs why he pushed through Westferry scheme. Picture: Aaron

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick. - Credit: PA

Weston Homes had been planning a legal challenge, but abandoned it last month, pledging to go back to the drawing board and work with organisations to come up with new plans.

And the Norwich Society is keen to be involved in coming up with a more palatable scheme.

Jon Boon, chair of the society's planning appraisals committee, said: "Areas of the proposed Anglia Square site have been derelict and in need of redevelopment for many years.

"What we’ve been campaigning for is not to stop development all together, but to ensure that what goes ahead is the best possible outcome for Norwich; architecturally, for the historic nature of the area, and for the quality of life for future residents.

“We will use this pause in proceedings to continue to push for more environmentally sustainable and lower-density alternatives to ensure Anglia Square becomes the thriving area we know it can be."

Barry Howell

Barry Howell, chairman of the Norwich Society. - Credit: Sylvaine Poitau

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Barry Howell, chair of the Norwich Society, said: "We are pleased to hear the developers are now indicating they wish to collaborate with organisations like ours to create alternative plans, and we welcome the opportunity for meaningful engagement”.