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Plans for 1,700 homes in Norwich given a boost

PUBLISHED: 11:13 04 August 2014 | UPDATED: 11:13 04 August 2014

An aerial overview of how the Deal Ground site could look as a whole.

An aerial overview of how the Deal Ground site could look as a whole.

Norwich City Council

Ambitious proposals to build more than 1,700 homes on two sites on the edge of Norwich have been boosted, after council leaders agreed in principle to award £5m of loans to kickstart the schemes.

The developers behind the Deal Ground site - the largest patch of derelict land in the city - and the Three Score site at Bowthorpe are in line for the financial help.

Serruys Property Company secured planning permission last summer to build 670 homes, shops, restaurants and pub, a bridge over the River Yare, car parking and a new access road at the Deal Ground, near Trowse.

The project has been on the drawing board for years, but the award of the planning permission last year was a major step forward for the scheme.

But, with the site constrained by the lack of infrastructure, the developer had applied to the Greater Norwich Growth Board - made of representatives from Norwich City Council, South Norfolk Council, Broadland District Council, Norfolk County Council and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership - for a loan to help.

The loans, from the Greater Norwich Local Infrastructure Fund, are available thanks to the Greater Norwich City Deal agreed by the government last year and means up to £20m of loans can be borrowed at discount from the Public Works Loan Board.

That money can be lent for essential infrastructure work and the board agreed in principle to make £3.5m available for the Deal Ground scheme.

Pending further work in terms of business plans and proof of ability to pay back the loan money, the loan would be used from 2015 to build a spine road, bridge and other work at the Deal Ground, to be paid back in 2020.

Chris Leeming, director of Norwich-based planning consultants, Lanpro Services, which has been involved in drawing up the proposals for the Deal Ground on behalf of Serruys Property Company welcomed the board’s decision.

He said: “Because the deal ground is phase one of a bigger programme, it is key that the infrastructure is in place. It’s a good contribution towards that.”

The second scheme which the board agreed a loan in principle to is the proposal for 1,100 homes at Three Score - the missing link in a project which dates back to the 1970s.

The board agreed to earmark £1.87m to Norwich City Council to provide roads and utilities infrastructure at the Bowthorpe development.

Work is due to start this September, with the loan repaid in 2016.

Brenda Arthur, leader of Norwich City Council and chairman of the Greater Norwich Growth Board, who had to leave the meeting while the decision over the loan to her own council was made, said she was pleased that the City Deal had made the loans possible.

She said: “It’s an amazing piece of good news that we can get on and help sites which have been stalled. Once again, the public sector is coming to the rescue.”

A third loan has been agreed, in principle, for a scheme in Wymondham.

Endurance Estates Strategic Land stands to be lent £3.5m to widen the existing railways bridge in Silfield Road, to build 1.5km of cycleway and to improve drainage in an area which regularly floods. That will pave the way for a development of 1,230 new homes.

• Do you have a story about a local council? Call reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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