Former cycle shop could be demolished to make way for housing

The former Berkshire Cycles in Norwich could be demolished to make way for housing

The former Berkshire Cycles in Norwich could be demolished to make way for housing - Credit: Colette Fountain

A former cycle shop which has sat empty for several years could be demolished and replaced with housing and a new retail unit.

Plans have been filed to rebuild the former Berskhire Cycles in St Augustines Street in Norwich, converting it into a ground floor retail space and nine rental flats.

Permission was originally approved in 2018 but delays meant the building has been left empty for several years and the permission expired.

The current site will be demolished and rebuilt to address concerns about its weakened structure, however, there are concerns about the suitability of the area.

Abbi Evans, owner of vintage shop Jubilique said: “As a shop owner it would be nice to have another shop here, it’s better to have it occupied than standing empty”.

Mikey Smith at Little Green Smiths agreed, saying: “As long as it benefits the street and they finally do something with it, that’s all I care about”.

Papers submitted with the application say that the project would "form a unique entity without overpowering the established architectural character of the area." 

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Some residents objected to the proposals, though, with one neighbour saying: “Clearly little or no thought has been put to the practicality of operating a business from the retail unit, and the developer is clearly just trying to squeeze as many flats into a site that just isn't big enough for them”.

Mancroft ward councillor, Jamie Osborn added: “It is a good idea to have more housing in the city centre, however, the current design is not in keeping with the medieval character of the city which is such an asset and could damage the streetscape.

“More attention needs to be paid to the design, especially the issues with the bins which come onto the pavement. It is also in an air quality management area so there does need to be an assessment into the impact of the air pollution before plans can be approved”.

Norwich City Council's environmental protection department has raised similar concerns, advising that further research into air pollution needed be done before planning could be approved.

The architect for the scheme was approached for comment.