Thousands of homes are planned for Norwich, will 2019 be the year they get built?
Hundreds of homes are planned on sites around Norwich. Reporter DAN GRIMMER looks at whether 2019 will be the year when they finally get built.
Where work is under way
There are sites in Norwich where hundreds of new homes are taking shape.
Orbit Homes is under way on its £70m development on the St Anne’s Wharf site, which had stood empty since 1999.
The riverside St Anne’s Quarter development will, when finished, include 437 homes and 22,000 square feet of commercial space.
The Grade II listed Howard House, on the corner of the King Street development has also been renovated, as part of the project.
Work to build 172 new homes at Three Score in Bowthorpe started in May 2017. The scheme, known as Rayne Park, is the landmark project of Norwich Regeneration Company, which is wholly owned by Norwich City Council.
The city council is also behind the £17m scheme on the Greyhound Opening/Goldsmith Street site, where 105 homes are being built.
The scheme was picked out by The Times newspaper as among the 10 best examples of 2018 architecture.
Bob Weston, from housebuilders Weston Homes, wants work on his ambitious redevelopment of the city’s Anglia Square shopping complex to start in 2019 - but it remains to be seen if that will be possible.
Norwich City Council granted permission for the controversial £271m scheme, which includes 1,234 new homes, by seven votes to five in December.
But Historic England, the national body which objected to the proposals asked for the decision to be called in by the government.
John Neale, from Historic England, had said the scheme, with its 20-storey high tower, would be “profoundly damaging” to Norwich, which he described as “one of Europe’s great cities”.
Communities secretary James Brokenshire’s department is considering whether or not the matter should be called in. If it does, then there would be a planning inquiry and the final decision would be in the hands of Mr Brokenshire.
It is a site in the heart of Norwich city centre which has stood empty for more than a decade, but 2019 could be the year when long gestating plans for the former Jarrold printworks site take a huge leap forward.
Planning permission for the Barrack Street site was granted back in 2007, for a development which included offices, a 60-bedroom hotel and 200 homes.
While some offices and a bridge over the river were built, a slowdown in the housing market meant the homes were never built.
Separate planning permission for the homes was granted in 2013, but, with the time limit for work to start running out, it had to be granted again in 2016.
But September saw fresh plans lodged, with Essex-based housebuilder Hill and Jarrold (St James Ltd) looking for permission to build 218 houses, apartments and commercial space on the land.
A decision will be made in the months ahead.
The Deal Ground
One of the biggest undeveloped brownfield sites is the Deal Ground, which was granted outline permission for up to 670 homes back in 2013.
But work has yet to start on the £110m scheme, with Norwich City Council’s bid to secure a £10m government boost to kick-start the project having failed this year.
When permission was granted, several members of Norwich City Council’s planning committee cast doubt as to whether the proposals would really mean and end to three decades of the site standing empty.
Labour councillor Paul Kendrick described the proposal as the “if” development and said: “If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t put tuppence on it.”
Among the issues which need to be overcome are access to the site. The city council has signalled it would wish to see bridges over the Yare and the Wensum as part of the development of the area.
Permission for a comprehensive £30m revamp of Duke’s Wharf in Norwich, including more than 150 homes, was granted by councillors in 2014 - but work has yet to commence.
Previous attempts to redevelop the area, including a plan to create eco-friendly offices, failed to come to fruition.
But, when property investment and development company Targetfollow gained permission, it looked like the site a new lease of life.
The company already had approval to create 69 homes on buildings fronting Duke Street and the River Wensum.
However, work has yet to start on the former Eastern Electricity Board site, which has been vacant, except for use as a car park, since 1999.
It is understood that the owners had been working on a new application for the site and have had talks with officers at City Hall about that.
But, so far, there has not been a fresh submission lodged with the city council.
Mile Cross Depot
Council bosses are looking to build houses and, potentially, a swimming pool, on the site of the Mile Cross depot in Norwich.
However, the site will need to be decontaminated before the construction work at the site, off Mile Cross Road, can get under way.
Norwich City Council has set aside just short of £2m for that work, with £980,000 coming from a grant awarded by the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government.
However, the terms of that grant means work on the site needs to be completed by the end of 2019, or City Hall will have to pay the government grant back.
The council is keen to get started and has set a target for the work to begin on January 14. The decontamination work could take up to six months.
City Hall’s cabinet has agreed to a £200,000 feasibility study over whether a leisure centre, including a pool, could form part of the development.