Office above former Costa to be a flat

The upper floors of the former Costa Coffee in White Lion Street could be converted into flats

The upper floors of the former Costa Coffee in White Lion Street could be converted into flats - Credit: Archant

The future of Norwich city centre will see fewer offices and more homes.

And space used by a former Costa Coffee and the former base of a substance abuse support group are among the latest city properties touted for conversion.

During the pandemic, it was warned the city may stand to lose some of its office space as people got used to working from home. 

The warnings prompted City Hall to explore measures to slow down this process and protect the office offering in the city centre.

However, planning applications for change of use do remain commonplace with further examples submitted to city planners this week.

Reporter Pete Walsh following the trail of Barry Reeves murderers. The Rose public house and Richmon

Richmond House in Queens Road, Norwich, which could be converted into flats Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

One of these, if approved, would see the upper floors of the former Costa Coffee, in White Lion Street, converted into a home.

And another would see Richmond House, in Queens Road, a former pub known as the Pheasant Cock in the Victorian era, converted into five properties.

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The now vacant office building was most recently used as the base for Impact, a young people's substance misuse centre - with the five dwellings set to be split between this building and the neighbouring 1A Bracondale.

The plans add to a growing list of city offices awaiting potential conversion, including Church House in Redwell Street, La Ronde Wright planning consultants in Bracondale and the former Alan Boswell office in Prince of Wales Road.

Anthony Breach, a senior analyst for the Centre for Cities think tank, said: "City centre offices are really important as they are the centre of the local economy - they bring in the majority of the footfall to businesses.

"But whether conversion ought to be looked at on a building by building basis and what the market on the whole is providing."

Earlier this year, Norwich City Council began to explore ways of limiting office conversion by looking into an article 4 directive to make it more difficult for permission to be granted for change of use.

Councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant.

Councillor Mike Stonard. Pic: Archant. - Credit: Archant

A consultation into whether to introduce this measure closed this month, with the earliest it can come into effect being July next year - if it goes ahead.

Mike Stonard, the council's cabinet member for sustainable growth, said the move was to protect office space because it is "important to the city's economy as a whole".