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‘Alien and inappropriate’: Historic England calls for Anglia Square revamp bid to be withdrawn

PUBLISHED: 09:57 17 May 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19 17 May 2018

A CGI image showing what Anglia Square could look like at night. Picture: Weston Homes

A CGI image showing what Anglia Square could look like at night. Picture: Weston Homes

Weston Homes

The 25-storey tower in the revamp of Anglia Square would have a “severe negative impact” on the character of all of Norwich, according to the organisation which protects the nation’s heritage.

Historic England has objected to plans for the shopping centre, branding the tower “alien and inappropriate”.

Housebuilder Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, are seeking permission from Norwich City Council for the transformation of the shopping complex.

It would include up to 1,250 new homes, the 25-storey tower, dozens of shops, a 200-bed hotel, 600-space car park and pedestrianised areas.

Consultation closed this week, with more than 350 comments lodged, many from members of the public objecting to the scale.

And Historic England agrees, saying three large blocks of up to 12 storeys and the 25-storey tower would be at odds with Norwich’s “unique heritage”.

John Neale, Historic England planning director in the east, said: “Norwich is one of the great historic cities of England and Europe. While Anglia Square is in need of redevelopment, a tower as tall as the cathedral would be alien and inappropriate.

“We believe plans for the square could be developed in a different way which would still unlock public benefits. Norwich deserves better.”

They say it would have a “severe negative impact” on the city centre conservation area, listed buildings and the character of Norwich as a whole.

It would, they say, intrude in views from the castle, Tombland or within the cathedral precinct, while the view of the city from higher ground, such as Mousehold Heath, would be “disturbed” by the tower’s prominence.

Historic England called for the application to be withdrawn and offered discussions with the developers and the council about a more sympathetic development.

The developers have said regeneration would transform the area and enhance the community. They say the proposals are the result of two years of discussion with the city council.

They say the tower has been designed as a “strong visual counterpoint” to Norwich’s historic landmarks, such as the cathedral.

A decision will be made by Norwich City Council’s planning committee in due course.

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