University expansion continues with overhaul of building planned

The Norwich University of the Arts. Pictured inset is Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID

The Norwich University of the Arts. Pictured inset is Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID - Credit: Archant/Norwich BID

A vision to increase the amount of student footfall in the city centre is taking another step forward. 

Norwich University of the Arts has submitted plans seeking a new entrance to the Duke Street building. 

The university hopes to "reinstate historic openings to improve access" as well as renovating the existing shop front.

Located in the city centre conservation area, the Duke Street site is the newest part of the Norwich University of Arts portfolio which includes student accommodation and a lecture theatre.

A map showing NUA's footprint on Norwich

A map showing NUA's footprint on Norwich - Credit: Archant

Plans submitted by Hudson Architects on behalf of the university states this intended "Western link project" will transform pedestrian movement across the site by opening access from Wensum links river. 

It comes as the university has acquired the former Open venue in Bank Plain.

A spokeswoman for the university said: "The works to the Duke Street building are proposed to continue in this tradition of investment in our buildings and facilities.

"The scheme would create additional learning and studio spaces for students, connect the building with the neighbouring Duke Street Riverside building to improve access for students and enhance its external appearance."

Stefan Gurney, executive director at Norwich Business Improvement District said: "It is good to see investment in the city and to grow the number of students.

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director at Norwich BID. Photo: Submitted

Stefan Gurney, Executive Director at Norwich BID. Photo: Submitted - Credit: Archant

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"There are currently around 3,000 students from the university and they are looking to add to a further 1,000 to 1,200 into the city which will have a positive impact.

"More skills, development and revenue into the city can only be a good thing. Both universities are keen to look at their footprint in the city centre and students increasingly want the city centre living, entertainment, night life and leisure." 

Norwich University of Arts bought the Duke Street building in 1996 after the original building at the site was built by the Norwich School Board in 1888. 

The new planning application will be considered by the city council in due course.

Mr Gurney said: "The university has a history of working within the confines of a conservation area and I would expect the same level of development and detail they have done previously."