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Video: 4,500-seat arena mooted for outskirts of Norwich

PUBLISHED: 09:25 01 October 2014 | UPDATED: 16:26 01 October 2014

An artists' impression of how the arena, hotel and civic centre could look

An artists' impression of how the arena, hotel and civic centre could look

Archant

Norwich’s Broadland Business Park could get a 4,500-seat music arena, it has emerged.

Which artists do similar-sized venues attract?

The Brighton Centre has a capacity of 4,500 for concerts, while the Plymouth Pavilions has a capacity of 4,000.

Artists which have appeared at these venues in recent years, or are due to perform in the coming months, include:

Blur

Plan B

Frank Turner

The Prodigy

Artic Monkeys

Madness

Jools Holland

Basement Jaxx

Paloma Faith

Peter Andre

Kasabian

Kaiser Chiefs

Erasure

Morrissey

The proposal, which is in the very early stages, could include a hotel and a civic centre in a bid to attract major music acts, comedians and exhibitions to East Anglia.

Lothbury Investment Management, the owners of Broadland Business Park on the outskirts of Thorpe St Andrew, have revealed they were approached by one of the UK’s major arena operators and are currently working with them with a view to bringing the entertainment venue to the park.

Lothbury are currently assessing the viability of such a development on the site, which is next to the A47 Norwich southern by-pass and new Postwick Hub. The proposal includes a 4,500 seat multi-purpose arena, designed to attract major music acts, comedians and exhibitions to the region.

Lothbury are also exploring other complimentary leisure and entertainment opportunities in order to create a major new leisure district for Norwich, Norfolk and East Anglia.

While land fronting Yarmouth Road has been identified as a possible site, many of the details have not yet been drawn up as both companies initially look at whether the idea stacks up financially.

Lothbury’s chief executive, Simon Radford, said: “It is early days but this is an exciting opportunity for both us and Broadland District Council.

“We have an ideal plot available, with easy access via the primary road network and no immediate neighbours who would be adversely affected. We have the land available, the region is lacking a venue like this and the operators think this is a great opportunity.”

He said if the project progresses, it will potentially create several hundred jobs as well as bring a major new entertainment venue to the east of England with benefits not just for Norwich, but Norfolk and the region as a whole.

The business park falls within the constituency of Keith Simpson, MP for Broadland, but is also on the cusp of Chloe Smith’s Norwich North constituency.

Mr Simpson said: “If it went ahead, it would be an attractive, new and probably much-needed facility, hopefully bringing in more employment which is all good, as well as putting Norwich on the leisure tourism map.

“However the downside, obviously, and my top concern would be the impact on my constituents and also Chloe’s as well.”

Mr Simpson said he would be keen to ensure that any noise pollution or traffic did not impact on families or businesses.

Jonathan Emsell, Broadland District Councillor for Thorpe St Andrew South East, said in theory it sounded like an interesting prospect for a site with good transport links, which would be a major boost for east of the city.

However, he said it would be important for such a venue to have good car parking facilities, for example making the best use of the nearby park and ride site at Postwick.

He said: “It’s very interesting concept and it will be interesting to see how the plans progress.”

Music fans have longed for a concert hall in Norwich, but ambitious £25m plans to transform Norwich’s historic St Andrew’s Hall and Blackfriars’ Hall into a cultural and conference centre were put on ice almost four years ago due to the tough economic climate.

What do you think of the idea for a 4,500-seat arena at Broadland Business Park? Email newsdesk@archant.co.uk

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