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Disappointment as bid for neighbourhood plan for part of Norwich turned down

Tombland. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Tombland. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Campaigners who wanted to create a new neighbourhood plan covering part of Norwich have been left disappointed after the city council rejected their bid.

City Hall received applications from the Cathedral, Magdalen and St Augustine’s Neighbourhood Forum for it be designated to create a neighbourhood area and to give the group the powers to create a neighbourhood plan for an taking in the likes of Tombland, Magdalen Street, Duke Street, St Crispin’s Road, Anglia Square and the Cathedral Close.

But Norwich City Council’s controlling Labour cabinet last night rejected their applications.

They had been objected to by the Norwich Business Improvement District and by Iceni, on behalf of Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle, the developers behind the planned revamp for Anglia Square.

Council officers said the area which had been proposed, covering about half the city centre, was not appropriate for neighbourhood planning and was a very “disparate area” made up of different neighbourhood areas.

And they said the list of members of the forum provided at the time of the application was not representative of the proposed area.

Denise Carlo, Green city councillor, said she was very disappointed and asked councillors why they were “siding with big business” rather than with a “public-spirited initiative seeking to give their community a voice”.

Mike Stonard, Labour’s cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, hit back: “We are not siding with big business. We are not siding with anyone. We are looking at proposals which have come forward and assessing them against criteria we are expected to assess them against.

“It is the case that a number of local businesses have questioned the coherence of the proposed areas and also the undemocratic nature of the forum.”

Following the meeting, Gail Mayhew, chairman of the forum, said she was disappointed that more than a year of work had ended with the rejection.

She said: “We do feel that the decision has not been made on fair grounds and in a fair way.”

She added that, since the application was lodged, the membership of the growth had grown, but due to the recent changes in data protection rules, they had been unable to publish full details.

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