WATCH: Choir sing ‘lament’ for Anglia Square as inquiry into shopping centre’s fate draws to close

A choir sing a lament for Anglia Square. Photo: Dan Grimmer

A choir sing a lament for Anglia Square. Photo: Dan Grimmer - Credit: Archant

A 'lament' for Anglia Square was performed at the final day of a four-week long inquiry which will decide the shopping centre's future.

The past month has seen those for and against the Norwich shopping centre's £271m redevelopment presenting evidence to planning inspector David Prentis at City Hall hearings.

The proposals, by Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes, were approved by Norwich City Council in December 2018.

The plans include more than 1,200 new homes, including in the tower, a hotel, cinema car parks and new shops.

But critics had objected due to the massing and height of the revamp - and its impact on the historic city skyscape, including Norwich Cathedral.

While Norwich City Council officers had conceded harm would be done, they said it was outweighed by the social and economic benefits.

But, at the request of opponents, including national heritage watchdog Historic England, the matter was called in by the government - triggering the inquiry.

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Today is the final day and, before the proceedings commenced, there was a musical start to the day.

The community choir of theatre group The Common Lot sang what they called a lament to the square outside the council chamber.

The group had performed Anglia Square: A Love Story at the shopping centre and other city locations last summer.

Simon Floyd, Common Lot director, said: "The choir felt they wanted to come to do something as it really struck a chord when we performed at Anglia Square in the summer.

"We call it a lament for Anglia Square.

"We are not pro or anti development, but it's important that whatever happens recognises the spirit of Anglia Square.

"And I'm not sure a 20-storey tower being built there will do that.

"We just wanted to perform to encourage people to think about the depth of feeling and the spirit of the place."

Following the planning inquiry, the planning inspector will make a recommendation to local government secretary Robert Jenrick as to whether the scheme should go ahead or not.

Mr Jenrick can choose to follow that advice, of reject it.