Norwich planning: 13-storey student accommodation, Primark expansion bid and city centre homes approved
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
The Norwich skyline is set to change after a vision for a 13-storey tower block housing students in the city centre was given the go-ahead.
The 244-bedroom student accommodation - made up of five connected blocks ranging from eight to 13 storeys - will be built on the former Mecca Bingo site, opposite John Lewis, in All Saints Green.
Norwich City Council's planning committee this morning green-lighted the scheme despite objections from nearby insurers Aviva, who said the development would both affect working conditions of its employees and have a 'harmful impact' on townscape.
Speaking at the meeting, Edward Jinks, who works at Aviva, said: 'I would like to emphasise that we do strongly support the principle of development of this site. It will provide much-needed student housing in the city centre.'
But he said the firm felt the height of the building - which was previously a cinema - was 'excessive' and said it should be reduced to 11 storeys.
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It is thought that the flats could be opened by 2018, though it is not yet clear at which university they would be studying.
Councillor Keith Driver said: 'For someone who was born in Norwich and can remember the Norwich Union offices, which were larger than anything in the area, I can't see a problem with this.
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'I don't see that an extra two or three storyes makes much difference.'
The building would be broken into five to eight en-suite flats with a shared kitchen area. There would also be a two-storey communal area.
Meanwhile, a major retailer's plans for growth in the city centre have also been passed.
An extra shopping floor will now be added to Primark, on Haymarket, while neighbuoring shops Wallis and Dorothy Perkins will be rebuilt and taken over by the fashion chain.
Heritage watchdog the Norwich Society had previously opposed the bid, calling it 'insensitive' and not fitting with the Norwich city centre conservation area.
This morning, councillor Hugo Malik said it was disappointing to not see two independent stores take over the units.
Councillor Simeon Jackson echoed the Norwich Society's comments, but said revamped facades at the shop's Haymarket nad White Lion Street entrances would be better than what was currently on display.
• What do you think of the plans? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE.