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‘Call time on this faceless, universal form of development’ - designer Wayne Hemingway joins Anglia Square revamp debate

PUBLISHED: 16:04 04 December 2018 | UPDATED: 16:04 04 December 2018

Designer Wayne Hemingway has joined the debate over plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. Pic: Nick Butcher

Designer Wayne Hemingway has joined the debate over plans for Norwich's Anglia Square. Pic: Nick Butcher

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Designer Wayne Hemingway has joined the debate over the £271m plans for Anglia Square, urging city councillors to reject the proposals.

A decision over the plans for Anglia Square will be taken on Thursday, December 6.  Photo: Weston HomesA decision over the plans for Anglia Square will be taken on Thursday, December 6. Photo: Weston Homes

The co-founder of fashion label Red or Dead, who now runs HemingwayDesign, has written to the members of Norwich City Council’s planning committee saying they should not allow “bland development” to overpower the “characterful”.

Mr Hemingway, who was made an MBE for services to design and a trustee of the Design Council, described how, having visited Norwich “quite a few times in the past few years” he had been “heartened by the city’s independent culture and cultural vibrancy” countering “the town malaise that is blighting so many places”.

He said, with the exception of the “dull and characterless anywheresville” of Riverside, Norwich had mainly managed not to permit “bland development to overpower the characterful”.

But he said he feared Norwich was about to undo that good work, if the proposals for Anglia Square are agreed.

Developer Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, is hoping to get permission to transform Anglia Square.

Their proposals would see the shopping complex replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 20-storey tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.

Despite criticism from Historic England, Norwich Cathedral, the Norwich Society and other organisations, City Hall officers are recommending the planning committee grants approval on Thursday, December 6, saying the “harm” is outweighed by social and economic benefits.

But Mr Hemingway said protecting “gritty areas” in cities such as Glasgow, Dublin, Sheffield, Liverpool and Manchester had led to those areas thriving, thanks to “entrepreneurial culture” driving their transformation.

He said: “It is time to call time on this faceless, universal form of development making clone cities for clone businesses, while ignoring the vitality and drive of individuals who want to make their mark and are the creative future of this country.”

Weston Homes has said it will not be commenting ahead of the meeting.

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