'It could drift into oblivion' - Reaction to Anglia Square shock

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

There is still an appetite for Anglia Square to be developed, following the withdrawal of a High Court bid to overturn the refusal of the latest scheme.

Weston Homes had sought to turn over housing secretary Robert Jenrick's decision to refuse its £271m revamp of the city shopping centre, which would have seen a 20-storey high rise tower building in a development of more than 1,200 properties.

However, just a fortnight shy of the court hearing getting under way, the developer instead opted to withdraw the plans and has vowed to return to the drawing board.

The decision has been met with jubilation from those opposing the scheme, including campaigners and people who spoke against it during the planning inquiry.

But for businesses, city-dwellers and visitors to the area of the city, there is still a desire for something to be done with the part of the city - whether it is a similar scheme or something totally different.

Albert Hawes, owner of Now 'n' Then antique shop, said he was a keen supporter of what was on the table already. 

He said: "I thought what they had was nice and modern and would have brought the whole area into the 21st century - so I desperately want to see it developed. I'd like to see it brought back and maybe put to a local vote.

"Anglia Square is one of the biggest eyesores in Norwich so something has to be done, but I fear it is just going to drift into oblivion."

Peter Mann, of Aladdin's Cave, said: "It definitely does need a bit of a revamp but I do not want to see the character taken out of it. We almost feel like a different town in the city here and I like that diversity.

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"I thought the previous project was a bit too in your face and the tower was a bit too big."

Ash Lomas, of nearby marketing firm Quotes to Compare, said: "We do think the site needs developing - it is the last part of Norwich left that needs regeneration.

"The 20-storey tower was a bit ambitious and do we really need a new cinema? I would like to see lots of space and a bit more places for entertainment."

And likewise, people in the area were supportive of some form of redevelopment.

Matt Williams, a 63-year-old cycling instructor from the Golden Triangle area, said: "I thought the proposals were dreadful and did not fit the area at all or rectify any of the problems we have had for the last 50 years.

Matt Williams, 63 of Norwich. 

Matt Williams, 63 of Norwich. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

"I would start by tearing down the flyover, but Weston Homes needs to speak to people in the area and make whatever it comes back with more low rise."

Janet Oxborough, 70 and from Ashill, said: "I would like to see lots of nice places to sit included. I definitely think something should be done with it as it has got quite run down.

Janet Oxborough, 70 of Ashill

Janet Oxborough, 70 of Ashill - Credit: Jessica Coppins

"I don't think the tower looked very good, but that the future. Surely they can come up with something better though, they've had long enough."

Joe Smith, 67 and of Waterman Road, said: "I think some local people like it the way it is and see it a part of their heritage.

Joe Smith, 67 of Norwich

Joe Smith, 67 of Norwich - Credit: Jessica Coppins

"I lived here for about 10 years and they [Weston Homes] should give people what they want, although it's very difficult.

"I would like to see it developed for leisure."

Amy Wildsmith, 23, who recently moved to Beccles from Brighton, said: "This is definitely not my favourite part of the city so I think it does look in need of a spruce up - some new shops and a bit of a paint job."

Amy Wildsmith, 23 of Beccles

Amy Wildsmith, 23 of Beccles - Credit: Jessica Coppins