Former Norwich MP calls for more ambition over revamp of Anglia Square
PUBLISHED: 17:30 20 June 2017 | UPDATED: 21:23 20 June 2017
A former Norwich MP has called on the developers behind plans for Anglia Square to seize the opportunity to create something special to draw tourists to the city.
Ian Gibson, Labour MP for Norwich North from 1997 until 2009, has organised a meeting at the shopping complex tomorrow for a discussion on its future.
Proposals to revamp the square, including demolishing the current shopping complex and building more than a thousand homes above new shops and restaurants, were revealed last year.
The developers - Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes - have been refining their proposals for the shopping centre, with a 25-storey tower block among the ideas put forward.
A full planning application has yet to be lodged with Norwich City Council for the site, which includes the vacant former office building Sovereign House, the condemned multi-storey car park fronting Edward Street, and Surrey Chapel Free Church.
The majority of the current buildings would be pulled down, with the possible exception of Gildengate House, while there could be up to 1,350 homes, mainly one and two bed flats.
Up to 15,000 square metres of retail space would be included, with space for a new cinema complex on ground level to replace the Hollywood Cinema.
But Dr Gibson and Paul Scruton, a long-time campaigner to improve the area, fear an opportunity could be missed.
They have organised tomorrow’s meeting because they want an “open discussion” and to get people involved.
Dr Gibson said: “What a chance this is for someone to create something which really makes Norwich stand out, rather than just building some more supermarkets.
“We want something there that people would take their kids to, that people would travel from the other end of the country to see.
“We have to raise the ambition level in Norwich. Places like York and Wakefield are leaving us behind in terms of what they do to attract people.
“We have all these talented people who are moving out of London and coming to Norwich and we should be tapping into their talents to create something which puts us on the map.”
The meeting, to which all are welcome, will take place in the management suite at Anglia Square from 6pm.