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Chinese learn regeneration secrets of city

PUBLISHED: 10:34 16 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:35 16 May 2013

Stefan Gurney(centre), executive director of the BID, shows a delegation from Yunnan China Authorities some of Norwich historic buildings during their visit to the city.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Stefan Gurney(centre), executive director of the BID, shows a delegation from Yunnan China Authorities some of Norwich historic buildings during their visit to the city. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Archant Norfolk

Norwich’s combination of retail, culture and architectural heritage could form an instructive blueprint on how to redevelop a rural Chinese province.

A delegation of 15 from the Yunnan province took a tour of the city to see first hand how planners and policymakers have combined heritage with modern developments.

Hosted by the Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), the delegation met Norfolk and Norwich Festival director William Galinsky, and also took a tour of the Castle Museum, Castle Mall, and the Forum. The aim was to understand more about Norwich and the regeneration projects undertaken within an historic city centre environment.

The focus was on cultural and historic site planning during the regeneration processes and measuring the impact of cultural-led events, such as the festival.

As part of the visit to Norwich the delegation met the organisers of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival and will visit Norwich Castle, the Forum and Castle Mall. Visiting these sites will give the delegates an insight into regeneration projects within the City.

Like Norfolk, Yunnan combines urban city centres with a rural hinterland and has also grown and developed its own local customs and festivals. The visit, part of a three-week nationwide tour, forms part of an overseas training programme and cultural fact finding mission organised by UK China Training, an executive agency of the Chinese central government.

Chen Chaoliang, from the Yunnan Provincial Development and Reform Commission, said the delegates were impressed by the strong planning system which could see schemes develop from concept to completion.

He said the delegation hoped to take inspiration and ideas back to their province to aid their own regeneration projects and to forge strong links with Norwich going forward.

“We want to regenerate our cities but also see how to do it and combine culture. Yunnan is also a rural area and we want to learn how to develop the heritage and culture together.

“The most impressive thing is the strong planning system.”

Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich BID, said: “They are looking at the cultural and physical regeneration in a historical envirnoment,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to promote the city on an international stage and get the message out about what Norwich has to offer .

“If we can share some of the key lessons with the Chinese that’s a great opportunity for the city and gets the Norwich brand international recognition.”

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