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Plans unveiled for £100m Norwich homes scheme

PUBLISHED: 18:37 20 December 2010 | UPDATED: 13:40 21 December 2010

An artist's impression of what part of the proposed development would look like

An artist's impression of what part of the proposed development would look like

Plans were today unveiled for an ambitious £100m scheme to build almost 700 homes and a marina on the outskirts of Norwich.

The proposals are for more than 45 acres of land between Trowse and Whitlingham which would finally see the development of what is known as the Deal Ground site.

The plans include 682 homes, along with offices, a public square and a marina, which developers say would create a new gateway into the city and would also create new habitats for wildlife.

The site is the biggest area of undeveloped land in the city and speculation has raged for years as to what the future could hold for the site.

Scrap metal entrepreneur Andrew Serruys has snapped up the land and wants to develop it, along with a redevelopment of the existing May Gurney site in Trowse.

Mr Serruys, who earlier this month saw a freeze on his assets lifted after High Court claims of fraud against him were settled out of court, has come up with plans for the site.

Through Serruys Property Company he is planning to make a planning application to Norwich City Council but has already sent leaflets to homes in the area asking them for their views.

The planning application proposals are being formulated by Philip Atkinson’s Lanpro Services, working with a specialist team on behalf of Andre Serruys who are in close contact with Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, The Broads Authority, Norfolk County Council and the Environment Agency.

Mr Serruys said: “Of all the development schemes we are involved with, this is the one I am most proud of as it is quite simply unique and will be a benchmark to demonstrate how this city is at the forefront of flood resilient development.

“I am excited about the prospect of delivering such a modern forward looking development, within walking distance of jobs and services within the city centre.

“It also embraces and develops wildlife and countryside access to the benefit of all future residents of this development and the city as a whole.”

The proposals include homes designed by award winning Dutch architects Atelier Pro Architekten, who have been working in association with the flood resilient designers BACA - advisors to the government on flood risk strategy.

The homes will be a mix of terraced house, town houses and flats, with views of the river or of marshes and developers say there will be distinct neighbourhood areas.

Houses in the May Gurney area will reflect the character of nearby homes in Trowse, Marsh Reach will be made up of low terraced homes and the Wensum riverside area will be more urban in character, set around the public square and mooring area for boats.

The scheme will also include a new marina, a public launching point for boats, which the developers say will boost tourism and create a new gateway into the city by river,

The scheme also includes two new pedestrian and cycle bridge crossings will be provided over the river Yare and the Wensum, linking the southern end of Bracondale and The Street in Trowse with Thorpe Road and Hardy Road to the north.

That will make it easy to walk and cycle to and from Thorpe and the city centre to Whitlingham Country Park and beyond, while a car club is also planned for people who move into the homes.

The scheme has been designed in conjunction with Natural England, The Broads Authority and Norfolk Wildlife Trust and the developers say it has been devised specifically with wildlife in mind.

The Carrow Abbey Marsh County Wildlife Site and waterways will be extended into the the development to create new habitats, say the developers, who also plan to preserve green views by planting more trees.

People are urged to have their say on the scheme ahead of a planning application being submitted by sending them to philip@lanproservices.co.uk by January 14.

Mr Serruys hopes, if planning permission is secured, then development can start by the middle of next year.

Steve Morphew, leader of Norwich City Council, said: “This is probably the biggest unprogressed development site in the city and one we will welcome being put forward.

“It is a difficult site and it needs to be treated very sensitively and I am delighted Mr Serruys is seeking to engage with people in the area.

“There’s a way to go but, the fact the process has started is extremely encouraging.”

The plans come just as Serruys Property Services also unveiled its hopes of redeveloping the Lakenham Sports and Leisure Centre site in Cricket Ground Road, Norwich.

The site has stood empty after the club closed three years ago, but developers have drawn up fresh plans which could see a sports centre and more than 80 new homes built at the site.

• Are you looking for a new home? Make sure you get the Evening News on Thursdays for our Homes24 section and visit the website at www.homes24.co.uk

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