Anglia Square regeneration plans divide opinions again as tower remains a sticking point
PUBLISHED: 15:56 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 15:57 19 September 2018
A move by Anglia Square developers to alleviate concerns over a controversial high-rise tower in their regeneration plans has been met with mixed reaction.
A revised masterplan for the scheme has been lodged this week, with developers Weston Homes proposing a variety of changes to its original proposal - most notably reducing the height of a 25-storey tower by five floors.
The developers say in doing so they have listened to the public and tweaked their plans accordingly - lifting the project’s spending to date up to £3m in the process.
The revised plans have seen the controversial tower brought down in size to just shy of 63m tall, while another apartment block of five storeys has been reduced to four.
However, as the revision was made available to the public for the first time, some remained unconvinced.
Stefan Gurney, executive director of Norwich Business Improvement District, said that while he supported the need for regeneration, work still needed to be done.
He said: “We (Norwich BID) put in our comments originally and the main issues we raised still stand.
“While the height of the tower has been reduced we still feel a 20-storey building is out of context with the rest of the area which is a big concern.”
Mr Gurney also raised concerns that the amount of retail space on offer was not in keeping with directions of the city’s local plan.
Stuart McLaren, secretary of the St Augustines Community Together group, campaigned against the original plans. His position has not changed either.
He said: “I still think it is far too tall, although the building was never the main issue for us.
“Some of the other buildings will also overwhelm the existing area and there will also be a big environmental impact of more than 1,200 new homes.”
In a tweet, Ben Price, Green city councillor for the Thorpe Hamlet ward, said the tower “would still be an absolute blot on the Norwich skyline”.
However, a poll of more than 1,600 people has demonstrated an appetite for the work to go ahead, with 61pc of voters saying to get on with it.
Those wishing to give their views can do so on Norwich City Council’s website.
Ever since the original plans were submitted in March, members of the public have been divided over the scheme.
More than 350 people have already responded to the project’s consultation, many opposed, but also some in favour.
People in the area showed equally split opinions.
Chloe Cousins, 37, of Southwell Road, said: “The tower was what people did not like to begin with, so cutting five storeys off just seems like a bit of a token gesture to me. We do need a lot of housing though.”
Colin Howard, 81, of Ives Road Norwich, said: “I do not know why they want something that high in Anglia Square. Apart from that though, it looks OK from the pictures.”
Jayne Steed, 59, of Nelson Street, added: “I actually think the changes look better - the building not being as high does not look as much of a blot on the landscape and it has to be better than what is there now.”