Why has it taken 30 years to get Anglia Square redeveloped?

Steve Hatton of Weston Homes (inset) on why it's taken so long to get Anglia Square spruced up

Steve Hatton of Weston Homes (inset) on why it's taken so long to get Anglia Square spruced up - Credit: Weston Homes/Archant

Plans to spruce up Anglia Square have been in the works since 1991 - when a £20m expansion plan was shelved because of high interest rates. 

More than 30 years - and many proposals later - a redevelopment scheme for the site has finally reached the consultation stage.

The Evening News asked the latest developer Weston Homes why it has taken this long.

Steve Hatton, planning and design director at Weston Homes, initially quipped: "How long have you got?"

He then went on to respond in full, saying: "There are numerous factors. The biggest overriding factor for Anglia Square is the viability of it.

"For any new proposal the economic factors at play during that time were incredibly challenging. That's whether it was Covid restrictions or recessions. 

"All these things have contributed to making a development of this scale difficult.

"There is a lot of information at the moment that needs to be taken into account.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square.

A concept image of plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. - Credit: Weston Homes

"It has been difficult to make a scheme viable in the economic context of Covid but we have got to a point where we can make it work.

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"First and foremost we need the planning consent. 

"We were able to apply for an exemption to the Community Infrastructure Levy to make the scheme viable. 

"The last application had a CIL exemption as well. When we analysed the scheme, we were able to reduce the number of homes and the amount of commercial and retail space. 

Steve Hatton, planning and design director of Weston Homes during the consultation in the Maids Head Hotel

Steve Hatton, planning and design director of Weston Homes during the Anglia Square public consultation in the Maids Head Hotel - Credit: Ben Hardy

"We had to significantly reduce the height of the development as well. With all that comes a significant reduction in income.

"So we had to make similar assumptions with CIL funding to make it deliverable with the number of affordable homes we wanted to build.

"It's incredibly challenging going back to the economic viability point and we need some help with the CIL exemption.

"The affordable rent is very much based on the local neighbourhood plan and this has been assessed at various stages over the time of the project.

"We have a commitment to 10pc affordable homes as a minimum to meet."