New plans unveiled for Norwich's Anglia Square
- Credit: Weston Homes
New plans for the revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square have been lodged - with the controversial 20-storey tower which stymied previous proposals scrapped.
The new bid to get planning permission for the shopping centre redevelopment, has just been submitted to Norwich City Council.
Developers Weston Homes and site owner Columbia Threadneedle propose up to 1,100 homes at the 11.5 acre site.
The scheme will include 14 buildings, ranging from three to eight storeys.
A previous scheme, unveiled in 2018, was rejected by secretary of state Robert Jenrick because of the height and massing of buildings.
Organisations such as Historic England, SAVE Britain’s Heritage and the Norwich Society had objected due to the 20-storey tower’s impact on the city’s skyline and on buildings such as Norwich Cathedral.
But Norwich City Council had granted permission and a planning inspector had recommended approval, although Mr Jenrick said no in 2020, sending the developers back to the drawing board.
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Developers Weston Homes has held a series of consultations and is hoping its new scheme will get the green light.
They say the Covid-19 pandemic has changed people’s shopping habits - so the new scheme has seen the retail and commercial space proposed slashed.
It is down from 428,465 sq ft to 80,369 sq ft, while the overall floorspace is cut from more than 1.9 million to 1.23 million sq ft.
Bob Weston, chairman and managing director of Weston Hones, said: “With the new proposals for Anglia Square, we have consulted in depth with local people and listened to all the key stakeholders.
“After many months of hard work on the designs we hope that the new application will be well received by the planning committee and local people of Norwich.
“Weston Homes remains firmly committed to finding a viable future for Anglia Square which has the support of the people of Norwich.”
While the ditching of the 20-storey tower will please some of the critics of the previous scheme, some said, during the consultation, that they still had concerns.
Historic England has said the number of homes should be capped at 800, while the Norwich Society has also questioned the housing numbers.
The developers have said they worked with many of the previous critics over the fresh plans.
They said the scheme would see “elegant contemporary buildings with architectural facades and detailing that compliment the existing character and street scenes of Norwich”.
These lower rise buildings would Have “contrasting red, white and flint grey brick or stone effect facades” and at ground level they would be designed around a network of central pedestrian courtyards accessed by covered archways, streets for pedestrians and bicycles and two public squares.
The homes would be studio, one, two and three bedroom homes of mixed tenure.
The number of car parking spaces has been cut to 450 and the new scheme will include electric vehicle charging points for residential car parking.
Weston Hones says the scheme would create 411 jobs and related employment each year during construction.
And it says the shops and other commercial buildings - which now do not include a cinema / would provide about 288 jobs,
The plans will be discussed by a future Norwich City Council planning committee.
Although it remains to be seen whether the scheme will be caught up in the delay to determining applications triggered by a recent Natural England direction.
Planning decisions involving housing in Norwich are currently on hold because of that directive.
Earlier this month, Norfolk’s councils were informed that they must not grant planning permission for any schemes involving 'overnight accommodation' until they can prove developments would not lead to phosphates and other nutrients flowing into the River Wensum and the Broads.
Natural England and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) say councils need to make assessments against which developers can prove their schemes are nutrient neutral by providing mitigation if necessary.