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Homes vision for new 'Carrow Road quarter'

Norwich City Football Club's car park has been sold for housing.

Norwich City Football Club's car park has been sold for housing.

Archant Norfolk 2010

A vision for a new ‘Carrow Road quarter’ has been unveiled by housing bosses who snapped up land on the doorstep of Norwich City football club to build homes for more than 750 people.

Broadland Housing Association wants to build 250 affordable homes on land currently used as car parks between the football club and the river.

As reported in the Evening News last week, the housing association has struck a deal to buy the land from the football club and now further details have been revealed about their plans for the 3.4 acre site.

Coming on top of Taylor Wimpey successfully obtaining planning permission for 174 homes in what is known as phase two of the Riverside Heights scheme, it will see the area around the football club transformed.

And Michael Newey, chief executive of Broadland Housing Association, says his organisation’s scheme is a wonderful opportunity to provide much-needed housing while breathing new life into an area in need of regeneration.

While detailed plans have yet to be drawn up, the housing association hopes to build 160 flats on the car park directly behind the Jarrold stand and another 90 homes - made up of flats and townhouses - on another patch of land currently used as the ‘orange car park’ between Laurence Scott’s test bed building and the river.

The development would be a mix of one, two and three bedroom homes and, while the majority would be available to rent, some of the homes would be owner-occupied.

Mr Newey said: “I’m very excited about it. There is a desperate need for more affordable homes to rent and this is a large slug of land right in the city in an area with housing need.

“We have a commitment as an organisation to maximise the number of affordable homes we can build and some of this area has become a bit of an eyesore, so we think the homes will improve it and help make it a real community.”
He said the aim was to have a “sprinkling” of retail activity on the site, perhaps a shop or two and a doctor’s or dentist surgery.

He also hopes the scheme will include an extension to the Riverside walk, which currently comes to an end at the boom tower near Carrow Bridge, eventually connecting through to Trowse.

The housing scheme is the biggest undertaken by Broadland Housing Association and architects Ingleton Wood and Hudson were brought in to the process month ago, when the discussions with the football club about the land were at an early stage.

Mr Newey said: “It’s a big area of land and there could be between 750 and 1,000 people living there, so it is important that we get it right.
“We want those people to be there for the long-term and it is vital that we get the design right.”

And Mr Newey said the scheme, which would cost £24m to build, would need to get funding from government organisations from the Homes and Community Agency.

Work is not due to start until the end of the 2011/12 football season and Norwich City Football Club has already indicated that it is in discussions with third parties about other arrangements for parking.

But, with hopes that a bus service will connect to the new residential area, there could be scope for football fans to make use of that to get to matches, rather than driving in.

Mr Newey said a planning application needed to be submitted by April, but that there would be extensive public consultation before that, as well as talks with Norwich City Council.

He said: “We will be consulting with our neighbours early in the new year. We will put on an exhibition and we want to get their views, so we can make take them on board before we submit the application.

“Our hope is that, if it goes ahead, the people who live nearby will say the area is a better one because of the development.”

However, one neighbour living in Kerrison Road, who did not want to be named, said: “I have lived here for 20 years. I’ve been to planning meetings and consultations and they just do whatever they want anyway. I’m resigned to it happening.”

Jeremy Hooke, Liberal Democrat ward councillor for Thorpe Hamlet ward, said: “Development is always welcome, especially in Thorpe Hamlet, but what I would say is that it needs to be in keeping with the area. It will be down to the planning committee to assess.

“But we are certainly short of one bedroom flats in the Thorpe Hamlet area and we often get people coming to the city council who are homeless, but we do not have enough one bedroom flats to offer them.”

The “substantial” amount the car parks are changing hands for has not been disclosed, but the football club has said it will be used to east the debts at Carrow Road - which stood at £23m before the sale.

Last month Taylor Wimpey, which has, through its Bryant Homes arm, already built almost 200 apartments next to the football ground, gained permission for the next £50m phase further along the river, with work due to start on those flats in April.

Other recent developments in the area include the conversion of Read’s Flour Mill in King Street into flats and apartments and the nearby Paper Mill Yard flats scheme.

• Do you think there is a need for more affordable homes in Norwich? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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