Hopes for affordable retirement flats at former shoe factory site

Graham Mitchell, from Mousehold Lane, Norwich, where Housing 21 wants to build a 45-apartment retirement complex

Graham Mitchell, from Mousehold Lane, Norwich, where Housing 21 wants to build a 45-apartment retirement complex - Credit: Sophie Wyllie/Housing 21

A derelict plot once used by shoe company Start-Rite is to be converted into flats to the joy of neighbours who branded it an "eyesore". 

Building work on a 79-bed care home, to be operated by Avery Healthcare, on the large empty plot off Mousehold Lane, Norwich, has already started at the front of the site.

But plans have now been submitted to turn the back half of the plot into a block of 45 affordable apartments for people over 55.

The plans submitted by Housing 21 to Norwich City Council show they would be rented.

The firm builds retirement and extra care living complexes.

If planning permission is granted building work could start this autumn and completed by the end of next year, according to its property development manager Geoff Reynolds.

People living opposite the site are happy to see it being developed after standing empty for the the past 16 years.

Graham Mitchell from Mousehold Lane in Norwich

Graham Mitchell from Mousehold Lane in Norwich - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

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Graham Mitchell, 71, said: "I'm glad something is being done with it. It has been an eyesore."

Bob Wood, who lives in Mousehold Lane in Norwich

Bob Wood, who lives in Mousehold Lane in Norwich - Credit: Sophie Wyllie

Bob Wood, 77, said: "Ever since the Start-Rite was gone it has been terrible. People were dumping rubbish there.

"The only thing I have a problem with is the traffic. I don't know how people will get out of the sites. It is bad enough getting out on the road now."

Back in 2010 Peter Colby Commercials lodged plans with Norwich City Council to build a 60-bed care h

The empty plot off Mousehold Lane in Norwich before building work on a care home started in 2021 - Credit: Google

Sprowston Town Council, which looks after the streets that neighbour the ex-shoe factory plot, said it had no objection to the planning application.

But it added: "Consideration should be given to reducing the speed limit from 40mph to 30mph on Mousehold Lane in view of the likely increase in traffic movements from this, other and proposed developments in close proximity."

Mr Reynolds said the access for Housing 21's  one to two-bed apartments would be off a road being created by developers for the Avery Healthcare site.

He said this kind of accommodation is needed because of an ageing population.

The development manager added the energy efficient flats would give people as much independence as they needed as well as creating "a vibrant community".

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