Plan for first city centre neighbourhood area opposed as “inappropriate”

The Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustines Neighbourhood Forum steering group. Photo: Luke Powell

The Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustines Neighbourhood Forum steering group. Photo: Luke Powell - Credit: Archant

Plans to give local people a greater say on future development in the city centre are being recommended for rejection by city council officers who have called them 'inappropriate' and 'illogical'.

Norwich City Council cabinet will consider an application for the formation of a Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustine's neighbourhood area and forum on Wednesday.

But officers have raised concerns over the impact a new neighbourhood plan would have on the ongoing River Wensum Strategy and plans for Anglia Square.

The proposed neighbourhood area falls across city council and Broads Authority boundaries, encompassing almost half the city centre and 4,000 residents.

It is the first time the city council has received an application for designation of a neighbourhood area and forum.

Objectors included Norwich BID who opposed the 'geography and size' of the proposed area, saying it made no sense to include Prince of Wales Road and Cathedral Close within the same boundary as north of the city.

Iceni, acting on behalf of Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle, the developers behind plans to transform Anglia Square, said it would not be possible to draw up a neighbourhood plan which would address the needs of all corners of the area.

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There were also objections to the forum, with concerns about the mandate and decision-making of an unelected body.

In a report to cabinet, council officers said: 'A key concern is that the development of a neighbourhood plan for this area could lead to a disjointed approach to delivery of strategic planning and transportation policy.

They add: 'The proposed boundary is considered to be inappropriate and does not address the considerations in planning practice guidance. For example the physical appearance, character and function of the area varies markedly between the different parts of the area.'

Councillor Denise Carlo, leader of the Norwich Green Party said they were disappointed at the move.

'Unfortunately, Norwich City Council prefers to side with big business and developers rather than empower the local community,' she said. 'A more progressive view would welcome this public-spirited initiative which seeks to bring together two areas of the city centre with a shared history, give the community a voice and improve social cohesion.'