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Design of new Norwich superstore comes in for criticism

PUBLISHED: 12:42 04 March 2013 | UPDATED: 12:42 04 March 2013

Plans for a new Morrisons store on Aylsham Road.

Plans for a new Morrisons store on Aylsham Road.

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Supermarket bosses have been urged to go back to the drawing board over the design of a proposed new Morrisons in Norwich, after heritage chiefs questioned the plans.

Morrisons wants to open a new 20,000sq ft store at the site of Goff Petroleum, off Aylsham Road, in Mile Cross, which bosses say would create up to 250 jobs.

It has submitted plans for the store to Norwich City Council and a number of organisations have been consulted.

English Heritage has responded to raise concerns about the impact of the store’s design on the setting of the nearby listed St Catherine’s Church and church hall, and of the Mile Cross conservation area.

In a letter sent to the city council, David Eve, English Heritage’s inspector of historic buildings and areas, said: “While it will be an improvement on the current state of the application site, we do not feel it will fully realise its potential to enhance the setting of the heritage assets.

“We would recommend the council consider a revised design that brings the new building closer to the street and has a more positive relationship with the public realm.

“At the very least a more substantial soft landscaping belt should be formed along the whole street frontage so that the new green space more convincingly responds to the churchyard and character of the conservation area.”

St Catherine’s Church, which is at the centre of English Heritage’s concerns, was where a public exhibition of Morrison’s plans was held last October.

Other comments lodged with the council about the proposals include that it will generate too much traffic and take trade away from other shops.

Morrisons has said it will, as part of the planning process, listen to concerns raised.

Michael Van Den Berg, development executive, said: “We have been working in partnership with Goff Petoleum to deliver a new medium sized 20,000 sq ft foodstore for Alsham Road in Norwich.

“As part of the planning process, we look forward to further engagement with stakeholders, including English Heritage, to work through the issues they have identified.

“A new Morrisons foodstore would breathe new life into this underused site. The proposals would create up to 250 local job and training opportunities as well as helping to regenerate the wider area.”

A decision on whether to grant planning permission for the store will be made by Norwich City Council’s planning committee at a future meeting.

What do you think? Write to Norwich Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE, or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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