‘Bland, cloned buildings’ - Norwich Cathedral clergy hit out at Anglia Square revamp

Photo essay - Anglia Square.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Photo essay - Anglia Square.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Senior clergy at Norwich Cathedral have spoken out against a major city revamp - warning it could create a 'zone of bland, cloned buildings'.

Norwich Cathedral dean, the Very Rev Jane Hedges. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Norwich Cathedral dean, the Very Rev Jane Hedges. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018

The Dean of Norwich, the Very Reverend Jane Hedges, and the Chapter of Norwich Cathedral have written to Norwich City Council to oppose the Anglia Square overhaul.

The scheme - which would involve up to 1,250 new homes, a 25-storey tower, dozens of shops, a 200-bed hotel and 600-space car park - has been divisive, with many welcoming the regeneration, but raising concern over plan specifics.

In the Dean and Chapter's objection, they agree with the need to revamp the area - describing the original development as a 'blot on the face of the city' - but warn that the new scheme could worsen the picture.

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 - Credit: Weston Homes

MORE: What Anglia Square could look like if redevelopment given green light

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They said the six, 10 and 25-storey buildings could form 'a wall between the outer and inner zones of the city'.

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'What attracts residents and visitors to Norwich is its human scale and living sense of continuity with its past,' they said. 'This new proposal would create a zone of bland, cloned buildings that speak of any place and no place, but certainly not of Norwich.'

The objection warns the community has already been 'alienated', and says the new development could set a precedent leading to a 'rash' of tower blocks.

The dynamic community and 'youthful vibe' around Magdalen Road and St Augustine's could be 'squeezed out' by the 'gentrifying' environment envisaged in the plans, they said.

They pointed to Norwich City Council's work on the creation of a Vision 2040 document for Norwich, a future plan celebrating both the historic and contemporary.

MORE: Proposals face criticism at public meeting

'This development speaks of none of these,' they said. 'It would overwhelm the distinctive, the local and the vibrant with the generic, the gentrified and the bland.'

Developers Weston Homes and landowner Columbia Threadneedle - who lodged plans for the revamp in March - have said the overhaul would provide a 'successful future' for the site, with councillors told it would 'complement rather than compete with' Norwich city centre.

Planning documents say the development would have a 'beneficial impact on built heritage', in particular in regards to views around Anglia Square. They say a 'carefully considered approach to the placement, scale and detailed design' of the 25-storey tower had been adopted.

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