Multi-million pound arena in city car park plan poised for green light

The Block, Norwich

An image showing how the entrance to Block Norwich could look. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

A new multi-use entertainment venue on a disused city car park looks set to be given the green light by councillors this week.

Inspired by a similar development on London's South Bank, the Norwich Block is a multi-million pound vision to transform land off Mountergate in Norwich that has previously been used as a surface car park.

Block Norwich

An overhead view of the proposed Block Norwich venue. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

It will see a 300-seater arena built using shipping containers, which could also host 1,500 capacity standing events in future.

But the vision that will go before Norwich City Council on Thursday will be slightly different to the one first touted, with developers tweaking their plans after listening to fears of neighbours living nearby.

Initially, the scheme had included outdoor attractions such as fairground rides, market stalls and a beer garden.

However, these aspects have since been removed.

James Bradbury, managing director of Teampartner Three, one of the parties behind the scheme, said: "We have listened to the people who live nearby and to city council planning officers about their concerns and want to keep working with them.

James Bradbury

James Bradbury, managing director of Teampartner Three - Credit: James Bradbury

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"This is a very exciting project for us and we are really confident we can bring everybody on board with it."

Should the plans get permission it would allow the venue to be in situ initially for a year, with Mr Bradbury adding events would kick off in Easter 2022.

And he added that he hoped the venue could help quell antisocial behaviour in the area.

He said: "There are huge social problems on the site at the minute, particularly with drug use. But we would have our own security on site and should really brighten up the area."

Car Park

The former Norwich City Council car park where Block Norwich could be built is currently vacant and boarded up. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

However, while the changes did allay some of the fears some objection has remained.

The main worries related to noise from the venue, which has seen the need for limiters including in conditions that will be opposed on the venue should it be approved.

In a report recommending the scheme get the green light, case officer Robert Webb wrote: "The proposal for a large scale eating and drinking venue accommodating up to 300 people would provide benefits to the local economy and contribute to the vibrancy and vitality of the hospitality offer within the city centre."

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