Controversial plan for dining hall in cathedral grounds could be saved

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

Scrapped plans to build a swanky new dining hall in the grounds of the Norwich Cathedral could be salvaged. 

Since 2018, the Norwich School has been attempting to revamp facilities on its campus, which sits within the historic grounds of the cathedral.

However, two separate bids aiming to build a new dining hall have failed to get beyond the planning stage, with councillors voting the proposals down on both occasions.

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 first refusal, in July 2019, sent the school back to the drawing board entirely.

An amended application was submitted the following year.


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But after these plans were also turned down by Norwich City Council's planning committee in November, the school has opted to take the appeal route.

The tweaked plans see more planting in the cathedral grounds as this is where the proposal came unstuck last time. 

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Despite the plans being recommended for the green light, last year the committee voted six to five in favour of turning down the bid following concerns over the loss of 12 mature trees.

In its appeal the school has argued that the plans will see hundreds of trees planted elsewhere, including 688 further off site and 21 within the school campus.

Patrick Smith, chairman of governors at the school, said: "This scheme was the outcome of over four years of consultation.

"The school's governors remain convinced of the merits of our thoughtful and appropriate proposals.

"We are therefore seeking to have the 2020 decision overturned and deliver a scheme critical to the school and one which will provide significant benefits to the local environment and the Norwich community."

Steffan Griffiths, head master of Norwich School

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

Headteacher Steffan Griffiths added: "The school has always been committed to finding a development solution that delivers both a range of environmental and community benefits for the school and the city.

"We hope the planning inspector will take a balanced, evidence-based and holistic view of our proposals to enable the scheme to progress.

"Our ambition is to generate a legacy which the city can be proud."

The Planning Inspectorate will consider the appeal in due course.

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