New plans for Norwich’s Anglia Square

Long-awaited plans to breathe new life into Norwich's Anglia Square are set to be lodged this week.

Over the last decade, plans to revamp the north city shopping precinct have stopped and started.

The biggest blow came two years ago when proposals for the �100m regeneration scheme, which was set to include a supermarket, homes, leisure facilities and shops, were scuppered by the credit crunch.

Developers had to go back to the drawing board and have drawn up a new planning application, which is set to be with Norwich City Council by Friday.

Under the proposals, the multi-storey car park at Anglia Square, which will be known as Calvert Square, named after a Norwich sheriff, will be replaced with two-level rooftop car parking.

Gildengate will be reclad and updated to provide modern office space to enhance employment opportunities in the northern part of the city.

The number of new homes at the site has been reduced from 198 to 178, but the number of affordable homes, at 51, remains the same. Other changes to the plans include a larger public square, while the relocation of the Hollywood cinema will be held back while discussions involving a new private gym and swimming pool are considered.

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Most of the plans, already given planning consent in 2008, including a 7,792 sq m food store with 507 car parking spaces underneath, other shops, restaurants and cafes and a new health care centre, remain the same.

Ranald Phillips, a director of Centenary Ashcroft, said: 'We are literally about to submit the main planning application for the regeneration and it should be with the council by the end of the week.

'We think that the proposed design is actually an improvement on the previous plans. I would hope that we would get determination on that planning application by the end of April.'

He said there had been other progress since consulting with members of the public in October and November. Plans have already been submitted to relocate Surrey Chapel from Crispins Road and for the Gurney Surgery to relocate.

A Norwich City Council spokesman said: 'We are working closely with the developers and expect a new application for Anglia Square to be submitted very shortly.'

If the application is approved, the demolition of the multi-storey car park and Sovereign House will be two of the first items on the agenda.

Traders today welcomed news that the plans were going to be submitted this week.

Rob Reed, assistant manager at charity shop Scope, said: 'It needs the redevelopment because it is so old fashioned down here. I hope it can change things and bring more customers down to this area. What we need is a big store so that people have got a purpose to come down here rather than just the locals.

'At the moment there is not a great deal here for people to have a reason to come down. Something needs to be done because we can not go on like this.'

Manager of PACT Animal Sanctuary's charity shop Fiona Hilliam said: 'It's definitely tougher here now than when we opened 28 months ago, but that is mainly because there are so many charity shops down here. Donations have dropped because people aren't changing their clothes as often any more, because they can't afford to.

'I went and looked over the plans for the development, but I don't know when it is actually going to happen - it would definitely make a huge difference.

'For us it would be better if a development can bring new people down because, as a charity, it would hopefully mean we could put our prices up a bit.'

At the end of last year, the one-way St Augustine's gyratory traffic scheme was completed.

The changes have seen St Augustine's Street become one way northbound with a new link between Edward Street and Pitt Street providing a southbound route via Magpie Road for traffic heading towards the inner ring road.

Meanwhile, in a blow to the area, Barclays bank is set to close and relocate to St James Court, Whitefriars. The closure, set to take place on April 8, will leave shoppers with just one other bank and cashpoint, Lloyds TSB.

Stuart McLaren, from the St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association, said: 'Everyone is rather dismayed by the lack of progress. There doesn't seem to be any impetus behind it.

'Now the St Augustine's gyratory system is virtually complete, it's like the stage has been set but the actors have not arrived.

'We are puzzled and dismayed. The relocation of Barclays Bank is another nail in the coffin for Anglia Square. We will be left with just one other ATM and if people aren't able to get their cash out, then they will shop elsewhere. It's another blow to the viability of Anglia Square as a shopping destination.'

A Barclays spokesman said: 'Our newly built branch at St James Court, Whitefriars, will open on the April 11. There will be ample parking at the new branch and designated spaces for people with disabilities. There will be no redundancies as a result of the Magdalen Street relocation.'

Which part of the city do you think should be improved? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email