Long-awaited construction of 670 homes could begin in 2020
Norwich City Council
The long-awaited construction of up to 670 homes on one of Norwich's largest brownfield sites is expected to begin next year.
Serruys Property Company secured planning permission in the summer of 2013 to build at the Deal Ground and nearby May Gurney sites, near Trowse.
But six years on and work is yet to start on the £110m scheme, meaning the land has stood empty for almost three decades.
Andre Serruys, director of Norfolk-based Serruys Property Company, which owns the sites, said in a statement: "This is a complex land mass with significant challenges.
"This is not a case of a land owner dragging its heels. In fact much is happening behind the scenes and we are at an advanced stage of negotiations with a preferred JV [joint venture] partner which, when completed, will see the commencement of development on the sites."
The approved plans are for the construction of up to 670 homes, along with shops, restaurants and a pub.
Norwich City Council said one of key development considerations was a bridge over the River Yare to access the site from the south.
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A new bridge over the River Wensum is also required to provide cycle, emergency and pedestrian links.
When permission was granted, several members of the city council's planning committee cast doubt as to whether the proposals would ever come forward.
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."
It was previously reported that a lack of infrastructure to the site had been responsible for the scheme's delay.
Last year the city council applied for a £10m grant for the project to help put in place costly infrastructure such as new access roads. However, it was unsuccessful in its bid.
Mr Serruys said: "We continue to work closely with, amongst others, the local authority planning departments, in a constructive manner to deliver the comprehensive redevelopment of the area.
"We expect to commence the works in 2020."
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