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Major developments in Norwich move step closer

The Deal Ground and May Gurney site.

The Deal Ground and May Gurney site.

Two major developments that would transform the Norwich landscape and create hundreds of jobs moved a step closer today.

The long-awaited revamp of the 1960s shopping centre Anglia Square in north Norwich is edging nearer after a new application was lodged with the city council.

And plans for a mixed residential/commercial development on the May Gurney and Deal Ground sites in Trowse have also been submitted.

The proposals for Anglia Square are virtually the same as those previously reported in the Evening News, but new details have emerged about the Trowse scheme, which is expected to take about 12 years to complete.

This land is owned by Norfolk-based developer Serruys Property Company and an environmental report was carried out on the site.

This report found it to be “strategically important [for Norwich] in terms of employment, housing and sustainable regeneration”.

It added that “it represents one of the last major brownfield redevelopment opportunities with the city. It also provides a catalyst for improved management of the adjoining County Wildlife site and will help establish continuity of access to the river frontage.”

It also fits in with a key element of the development strategy for Norwich which is the redevelopment of vacant and underused land within the built-up area. Plans for the site have been developed over two years by a specialist design team led by the planning consultants Lanpro Services.

Chris Leeming, a director of Lanpro Services, said as soon as plans were approved, work could in theory start on May Gurney’s new HQ on the same site, where staff will eventually be relocated with the existing buildings set to be demolished.

Mr Leeming said: “We are very keen to get on to develop the site as soon as possible.

“It’s a very difficult site to develop but the feedback we have received during our consultation reflects that, as it’s the last major brownfield site in the city, people accept development will occur there. Most comments have praised the enlightened approach we have taken.”

The environment report also found that schools in the area could cope with extra numbers of pupils and the current transport infrastructure could also accommodate extra traffic.

In consultation Natural England said the key issue was the safe-guarding of the Carrow Abbey Marsh County Wildlife Site.

Whitlingham Charitable Trust, which manages Whitlingham Park, has asked Lanpro to confirm a guarantee that it could pay the trust for any costs that could result from the project.

The ambitious £100m scheme would see almost 700 new homes built plus a new marina on the River Wensum, with road, pedestrian and cycle bridges over the rivers Wensum and Yare. The Deal Ground site has been left vacant for three decades and was formerly used for workshops and the manufacturing of packing cases associated with Reckitt and Colman.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, pictured, said: “We have worked hard to try to get these developments brought forward as they are crucial to the city and it is excellent news the developers have now submitted the planning applications.

“Not only will they see development of two important areas in need of regeneration, the work will create a lot of new jobs both in the short and long term and give a boost to business confidence and encouragement to those who want to invest in Norwich.”

Meanwhile, Anglia Square is set to get a new food store, new homes and modern office facilities, plus other shops, restaurants and cafes and a new health care centre.

The one-way St Augustine’s gyratory traffic scheme was completed at the end of last year to tie in with the scheme.

The Anglia Square plans were submitted by Ranald Phillips, who was unavailable for comment.

Do you know about a new development planned for your neighbourhood? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk

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