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More than 300 student flats to be built above city car park

Computer generated image of what a new student development on Barn Road could look like. Picture: Alumno

Computer generated image of what a new student development on Barn Road could look like. Picture: Alumno

Alumno

More than 300 student flats above a city car park have been given the go-ahead, despite objections.

Computer generated image of what a new student building could look like on Barn Road. Picture: AlumnoComputer generated image of what a new student building could look like on Barn Road. Picture: Alumno

Alumno Developments was given permission by Norwich City Council to build the flats - above the Barn Road car park which the city council owns.

Heritage watchdog Historic England had objected to the scheme, it was critical of the building’s design, particularly given its proximity to the city walls.

Gloria Wallace, who lives nearby also objected and told the city council’s planning committee she feared the students would be noisy.

David Campbell, managing director of Alumno, which also developed student flats near the bus station and at the new Pablo Fanque House in All Saints Green, said the company strives to be good neighbours.

Permission for the scheme, to be known as Mulberry Yard, was granted by 10 votes to two.

One of those who voted against was Labour’s Hugo Malik.

He said: “I think council land could be much better served. We could use Norwich Regeneration Ltd to provide affordable housing for people who live in the city.”

Mr Malik added: “I am really concerned about this business model where developers tap into a mountain of debt that falls on students in the future.”

Mr Malik questioned officers over what assessment of need the council has done when it comes to student accommodation.

Officers said they had carried out an assessment, but it had yet to be published.

However, they said it showed there was still unmet demand for such places.

And Labour’s Roger Ryan, who voted for the plans, said: “As a representative for University ward, I am fully in favour.

“The number of applications for houses of multiple occupation for students is increasing, so anything which eases the pressure in my ward is welcome.

“Students generate a huge amount for the Norwich economy.

“We are no longer a city of beer, shoes and chocolate, but a city which provides a student experience.

“It is a striking building, but that car park wasn’t created by the city council. It was created by Hitler’s bombs. It’s been there a long time and it needs redeveloping.”

When the flats are built, the public pay and display car park beneath the flats would remain and would still be run by the city council.

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