Flats to be built on Norwich burial site

Plans to build more than a dozen new flats in the centre of Norwich have been given the go-ahead by the Norwich City Council planning committee – providing that the development does not disturb the dead.

An 18th century burial ground and crypt lies below the site earmarked for development and archaeologists are insisting that the remains are preserved.

The plans, lodged with Norwich City Council by applicant Andrew Gerrard, are for 18 apartments to be built on the site of the former Thorndick and Dawson Printers in Pottergate, by the side of Three King Lane.

The proposals were discussed at City Hall yesterday and had to take into consideration an objection from the owner of a separate planned development of maisonettes by Mr Andrew Moore at a lower level on the brownfield site behind the larger development.

After discussions surrounding the eligibility of the two developments meeting all the planning requirements and their effect on one another, a majority decision of nine councillors on the committee approved the plans, with two against and one abstention.

But the developers have been told they must not dig down too far when building the flats, because it could 'drastically alter the subterranean conditions and risk damage to the archaeological remains'.

Planning officer Rob Parkinson says in his report: 'The site contains some significant archaeological remains.

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'The site was formerly occupied by a Baptist Chapel and burial ground in the late 18th century and it is proposed that below-ground findings relating to this part of the site history, as well as other time periods, will be retained in situ as much as possible.

'This approach has been welcomed by Norfolk Landscape Archaeology and the national Coroner's Unit who are satisfied that the proposed piling designs will preserve the crypt and its burial conditions.'

Part of the west wall of the baptist church remains in Three King Lane and the plan is for that to be retained and restored where possible.

Families who live in Three King Lane argue the new flats, of which there would be 15 two-bedroom apartments and three one-bedroom apartments, would overlook their homes, overshadow their properties and mess with their TV signals. However, civic watchdog the Norwich Society has supported the scheme, describing it as a good development of an empty site which preserves the old facade, and the committee agreed.

Are you fighting a planning application? Call Evening News reporter Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk