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New seven-storey hotel hits snag - over historic maple tree

PUBLISHED: 16:01 19 September 2020 | UPDATED: 09:00 20 September 2020

The tree in Pottergate which planners and some members of the public have objected to being removed as part of the building work. Pic: Archant

The tree in Pottergate which planners and some members of the public have objected to being removed as part of the building work. Pic: Archant

Archant

Plans for a 91 bedroom, seven-storey hotel in Norwich city centre have hit a problem over the removal of a tree.

The proposed hotel. Developers are revising some of the original plans. Pic: CAM ArchitectsThe proposed hotel. Developers are revising some of the original plans. Pic: CAM Architects

One of the sticking points for developers aiming to transform Chamberlain House on the corner of Guildhall Hill and Dove Street into a multi-million pound hotel concerns the proposed removal of a silver maple tree in Pottergate.

But after public objections backed by city council planners, the firm are having to go back to the drawing board – and retain the tree.

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The historic building in Norwich's Guildhall Hill, earmarked for conversion into a luxury hotel. Pic: CAM ArchitectaThe historic building in Norwich's Guildhall Hill, earmarked for conversion into a luxury hotel. Pic: CAM Architecta

Other concerns raised included the “height and scale” of the proposed hotel which aims to convert a historic building, once the ‘Selfridges of Norwich’ Chamberlin’s department store, but with ultra modern interiors including a glass walkway. Planners have deemed it as having a “negative impact on the streetscape” although welcomed the idea in principle.

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John Walker of Bracondale-based property consultants Ward Hill Walker said: “We have had some very constructive comments back on our original plans which we are now working on to include in a revised planning application. We are on target to submit this early next year.

The proposed luxury hotel has hit a snag and the developers are having to revise plans. Pic: CAM ArchitectsThe proposed luxury hotel has hit a snag and the developers are having to revise plans. Pic: CAM Architects

“The developers are absolutely committed to this major long-term investment in Norwich city centre and will be working closely with the council’s planners, conservation officer and other stakeholders to deliver a quality development that is in keeping with a historic area.”

At the centre of the revised plans will be a more sympathetic design to the rear of the building, which includes a loading bay for Tesco.

The amendments came after public objections raised last month over the removal of the silver maple, which currently does not have a tree preservation order on it.

One member of the public said: “The silver maple in Pottergate is much loved by many people who visit Norwich and is an important landmark in an area otherwise devoid of any trees and planting...it is an important part of the history of Norwich.”

Planners stated: “The whole development could greatly enhance this area of the city centre.... the tree on Pottergate is a significant feature, it breaks up the extremely urban nature of this street...it is viewed from long distances and when in leaf provides greatly needed sun shade in this location.”


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