Reaction to plans for new Norwich Block entertainment venue

The Block, Norwich

An image showing how the entrance to Block Norwich could look. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

Proposals for a major new multi-million pound venue in Norwich have been hailed as a sign of confidence in the city.

Business and council leaders have welcomed plans, lodged with Norwich City Council, for the Block Norwich venue, which developers want to build on land off Mountergate.

However, concerns have been raised about the noise impact on people living nearby, although the developers say measures would be put in place to limit that.

Block Norwich

An overhead view of the proposed Block Norwich venue. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

The plans include an enclosed and heated auditorium, featuring a 300-seat arena, which could have a capacity of up to 1,500 standing post-Covid, an 18-metre screen, a performance stage and a food court.

The venue would be constructed using shipping containers - a style which has proved successful in locations such as Pop Brixton in London and Stackt in Toronto.

Block Norwich

Block Norwich, as seen from Rose Lane. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

The plans also include 40 retail units - available for rent for food, drink, crafts and other pop-up businesses.

Developers - Teampartner Three, The Clear Idea and SY Foods -say up to 500 jobs could be created.

Stefan Gurney, chief executive of Norwich Business Improvement District. Pic: Nick Butcher.

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID. - Credit: Nick Butcher

And Stefan Gurney, executive director of the Norwich Business Improvement District, said the scheme demonstrated how the city was a good place for investment.

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He said: "I think anything that introduces a new concept to Norwich would be really welcome.

"There are employment opportunities, with suggestions of up to 500 jobs, which, given the challenges the industry has been facing, would be really good."

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth. Picture:

Mike Stonard, Norwich city councillor. - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

Mike Stonard, Labour's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth at Norwich City Council, said the scheme would need to go through the planning process and concerns raised would need to be taken seriously.

But he said: "I think it's really exciting. It would put us on the map and we have been wanting to regenerate that area for some time."

Green city councillor Ben Price. Picture: Norwich City Council

Ben Price, Green city and county councillor. - Credit: Norwich City Council

However, Ben Price, Green city and county councillor for Thorpe Hamlet, said: "It's good to see innovative ideas which could expand Norwich's entertainment and create jobs, but my gut instinct is that this is not the right site.

"We need to look at it further, but we are worried it could be to the detriment of residents who live there, in terms of noise and potential anti-social behaviour of people leaving the venue."

The developers say an in-depth noise assessment has been done by independent Acoustic Consultants Ltd, detailing how noise indoors and outdoors would be kept at acceptable limits.

They said evening events would take place within the enclosed auditorium, with steel sheeting to control sound and maximum noise levels set.

That would include providing more smaller speakers around the venue, rather than a group of large speakers at one end, directed to minimise noise leakage. Noise levels would be monitored by the council.

Developers said people leaving would be reminded it is near a residential area and to exit quietly, with security staff preventing people from gathering.