Cathedral school's controversial revamp appeal rejected by inspector

Head of Norwich School, Steffan Griffiths (inset) with impressions of what the new site could look like.

Head of Norwich School, Steffan Griffiths (inset) with impressions of what the new site could look like. - Credit: LSI Architects/Norwich School

An independent planning inspector has quashed a city centre school's hopes to build a plush new dining hall and classroom in its historic grounds. 

Norwich School at the cathedral has been attempting to address "urgent needs for new dining and teaching spaces" since 2018. 

But those plans have been formally ended after a planning inspector agreed with the city council's decision to reject the proposals, known as the Bishop's Palace Lawn development. 

The council first refused the transformation at the school located in the cathedral's Upper Close in July 2019 before a further refusal in November 2020.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: LSI Architects - Credit: Norwich School

But now the school will have to consider alternative options in a bid to modernise its facilities after the appeal process has also failed to deliver the desired outcome. 

Head of Norwich School, Steffan Griffiths, said: "We are obviously disappointed by the decision not to approve our major site development, which had been the culmination of many years' of meticulous work and community consultation. 

"The school's urgent need for new dining and teaching space remains, so governors will now reflect on next steps as we try to find a solution in a sensitive site that delivers educational, environmental and community benefits for Norwich." 

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster of Norwich School. Photo: Autumn Lewis.

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster of Norwich School. Photo: Autumn Lewis. - Credit: Autumn Lewis

Mr Griffiths had previously stated he hoped the planning inspector would take a "balanced, evidence-based and holistic view of our proposals to enable the scheme to progress".

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Councillors in the planning committee had raised concerns over the loss of 12 mature trees when the plans were presented before them.

These objections were raised after officers had recommended the green light for the planning application.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: LSI Architects - Credit: Norwich School

During its appeal, the private school had argued the plans would see hundreds of trees planted elsewhere.

Chairman of governors, Patrick Smith, said: "I am grateful to all those who are supporting us through this long process and can assure them that we will, in the fullness of time, deliver facilities which are essential to the future of the school." 

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: LSI Architects - Credit: Norwich School

The school was re-founded on its current site in and around the Cathedral Close in the 16th century.

It is a private co-educational school for pupils between the ages of four and 18.