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Neighbours, including school, in fresh fight to stop eight-storey block of 140 flats

PUBLISHED: 08:10 14 November 2019 | UPDATED: 08:10 14 November 2019

The site next to the Premier Inn on Duke Street where student flats could be built. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

The site next to the Premier Inn on Duke Street where student flats could be built. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

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A controversial development of almost 140 student flats in Norwich city centre could be about to get the go-ahead, despite fierce opposition from neighbours, including a school.

Norwich city councillor Sandra Bogelein. Photo: Neil DidsburyNorwich city councillor Sandra Bogelein. Photo: Neil Didsbury

A decision over the block of flats proposed for a car park next to the Premier Inn in Duke Street, will be made by Norwich city councillors today - and officers are recommending that permission is granted.

Applicant Raer Estates/Keypoint Norwich was refused permission for a previous 152-flat scheme last year, while an appeal against that refusal was rejected by a planning inspector.

But revised plans, reducing the number of flats to 139 and cutting the height of the parts of the scheme, were submitted and a decision rests in the hands of Norwich City Council's planning committee.

The recommendation of City Hall planning officers comes despite more than 30 objections, including from the Inspiration Trust, which runs the nearby Jane Austen College in Colegate.

The site next to the Premier Inn in Duke Street where student flats could be built. Pic: Dan GrimmerThe site next to the Premier Inn in Duke Street where student flats could be built. Pic: Dan Grimmer

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The tallest parts of the building would be eight storeys high, but amendments to the original design means it would now be six storeys high at the Jane Austen College end.

The Inspiration Trust said the changes did reduce the impact on the school site, but "remain concerned that the mass of the building is significant and that there could still be shadowing of the school".

People living in Duke's Wharf Palace, on the opposite side of the river Wensum, have also objected over overshadowing.

The applicant has submitted a daylight assessment which acknowledges one of the windows would have an "unnacceptable" reduction in daylight and six a "noticeable" reduction, but officers say that impact is not enough to warrant refusal.

Sandra Bogelein. Green city councillor for Mancroft ward, said she hoped the committee would turn down the plans.
She said: "There are a number of concerns, but the simplest one is that it's just too big. It should be seen in the context of the conservation area. It's just a huge block and it will hide significant buildings.

"The canyoning of the river is a worry and there's an impact on the balconies of the people who live on Duke's Palace Wharf.

"We are hoping the committee sees sense and does not let it go through."

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