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Final decision on £271m shopping centre revamp due within days

PUBLISHED: 10:41 02 September 2020 | UPDATED: 16:14 02 September 2020

Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

The crunch decision on whether or not the controversial £271m revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square shopping centre will be allowed to go ahead is expected within days.

Local government secretary Robert Jenrick has until Monday (September 7) to issue a decision on one of the most contentious - and largest - developments in Norwich for decades.

Plans for the shopping centre, lodged by Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes, were approved by Norwich City Council’s planning committee in 2018.

Those plans include more than 1,200 new homes, including within a 20-storey tower, a hotel, cinema, car parks and new shops.

But the proposals attracted fierce criticism, due to the massing and height and its impact on the historic city skyscape, including on Norwich Cathedral.

While City Hall officers had conceded that the revamp scheme would cause harm, they had said that was outweighed by social and economic benefits.

The council’s planning committee voted in favour, by seven votes to five.

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However, the matter was called in by the government at the request of opponents, including heritage watchdog Historic England.

That call-in triggered a four week planning inquiry into the issues, which was held at City Hall in January and February.

The Anglia Square revamp would include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston HomesThe Anglia Square revamp would include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston Homes

Historic England, SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the Norwich Society, the Norwich Cycling Campaign, and the Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine’s Forum were among objectors.

They sought to persuade the inspector to recommend that the scheme should not be given the green light.

Planning inspector David Prentis weighed up the evidence presented at the inquiry and handed his recommendation on whether the scheme should go ahead or not to the government earlier in the summer.

What he has recommended has not been made public at this stage.

The planning inquiry into Anglia Square, at City Hall. Picture: ArchantThe planning inquiry into Anglia Square, at City Hall. Picture: Archant

But Mr Jenrick, having considered the planning inspector’s report is due to make his final decision within days.

Mr Jenrick, who was caught up in controversy over his controversial decision to permit The Westferry Printworks redevelopment in London earlier this year, can back the recommendation made by Mr Prentis, or he could choose to ignore it.


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