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Reader letter: Norwich School's refectory redevelopment plans do have benefits

PUBLISHED: 11:03 12 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:03 12 May 2019

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School

There have been some emotive responses to Norwich School's refectory redevelopment plans, angered by the felling of trees but completely disregarding the school's intentions for their ecological replacement, says one of our readers.

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolNorwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

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It is always sad when a mature tree is lost, for whatever reason. (A large copper beech had to be felled to construct the cathedral's celebrated Hostry building, and Elm Hill no longer has an elm, lost through disease and replaced with a London plane in 1979.)
The school has worked tirelessly to ensure that the loss of trees will be compensated: not only will there be replanting of new trees in the area and within the city, but some of the features of the new buildings, including a green roof and a living wall, are direct responses to environmental concerns. (The school even has plans to plant a wood beside their playing fields next to the North Walsham Road.)

I was privileged to be a pupil of Norwich School in the late 1960s, and know well how precious this corner of The Close is. Even then the 1962 refectory building (which still occupies the site) was unloved, and it is now wholly inadequate to cater for more than 1,000 pupils.
I also know how deeply the school is committed to the wider community and this new development will be a significant asset, benefitting the whole city as venue space. The grade I-listed Bishop's Palace is a particular hidden gem and one of the loveliest views of the cathedral will be opened up to many more people.
Regarding the design of the new buildings, I believe some refinements and improvements could be made to the detailing of the architecture, but the general planning submission is one that all who love our beautiful city should fully support.

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