Norwich set for new 600-space car park as part of vision for city centre

A 3D model of what development at St Anne's Wharf might look like.

A 3D model of what development at St Anne's Wharf might look like. - Credit: David Lock Associates

A vision for the future of a key part of Norwich can be revealed today, with councillors due to give the go-ahead for the first work to breathe new life into the area.

And attempts to revitalise the historic King Street area of the city centre will be kick-started through the building of a new 600-space multi-storey car park, which Norwich City Council leaders are expected to agree tomorrow. Meanwhile, that initial investment could be followed by:

Up to 300 new homes, including almost a hundred at St Anne's Wharf - a site which has long stood undeveloped

A new primary school in Garden Street

A revamp to the outside of Normandie Tower

New footpaths, cycle ways and road crossings

An interpretative trail around the City Walls

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New offices and business units.

It is hoped that tomorrow's publication of a blueprint setting out a vision for the south city centre, coupled with the council's own commitment to get the shovel in the ground, could act as a catalyst to encourage more investment in an area which the council's leader acknowledges has been neglected in the past.

The blueprint was drawn up after more than a year's worth of work which included public exhibitions and workshops, asking the public and local businesses what they would like to see happen in the area around King Street.

The city council's cabinet will meet tomorrow afternoon to publish the vision and investment plan for the area. The council and the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) had asked people to help plan for the future of the area between the River Wensum, Ber Street and Rose Lane.

A series of open days and workshops have taken place in the area, with a project team, led by David Lock Associates, tasked with drawing up the vision and investment plan for the south city centre area.

While some of the key sites, including St Anne's Wharf are owned by private companies, council leaders are hoping to attract 'significant investment' in housing.

They also hope economic regeneration of the area will be a boost for existing businesses and to attract new employers, providing new jobs.

One part of the area which is owned by the city council is the former Rose Lane car park in Mountergate West, a stone's throw from the St Anne's Wharf area.

The council's cabinet will be asked to agree to prepare a business case for the new multi-storey car park there and to work with the HCA to bring forward proposals for between 50 to 70 homes on the site.

There could also be between 6,000 square metres and 15,000 square metres of floorspace for businesses.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council, said she hoped that the council's commitment to invest in the area would act as a catalyst for other developers to set their sights on that part of the city.

She said: 'It's a part of the city which has not had the focus on it that it perhaps should have in the past. I think we feel that if the council can put its money where its mouth is that will encourage others to do likewise.

'It's really good that we have given people the opportunity to say what they want. The message was that people wanted a mixture of business and housing.'

A report, which will come before the council's cabinet at City Hall this afternoon, describes St Anne's Wharf as 'the most pivotal' in terms of the regeneration.

More than 400 homes were supposed to be built on the site, but the plan stalled after owners City Living went into administration in 2010.

The site is now owned by Dunbar bank, which is looking to sell it, and the council is keen to join forces with any potential developer to provide affordable homes there.

The vision document suggests up to 94 homes on the site, along with commercial units which could become cafes, restaurants, offices, studios and small shops.

Norfolk County Council has expressed an interest in building a new primary school in Garden Street, but the blueprint says the site also has potential for some 70 townhouses.

The blueprint also suggested a revamp of the outside of Normandie Tower and the possibility of new homes in Argyle Street, although the report to cabinet states that those areas might not be viable in the current economic climate.

Other suggestions in the plan include new footpaths and crossings, including in Rouen Road and an interpretative trail along the route of the City Walls.