The £300m revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square has been suddenly scrapped after its developers pulled out of the major scheme.

Weston Homes said it had been forced to cancel the shopping centre redevelopment, which would have seen up to 1,100 new homes built, because a "multitude of issues" meant it was not financially viable.

Eastern Daily Press: Anglia Square in NorwichAnglia Square in Norwich (Image: Antony Kelly)

Developers had finally secured permission for the redevelopment last year, after years of public inquiries and legal battles - only for the company to pull the plug on the project.

Essex-based Weston Homes said it has had to make a £7.5m write-off on the scheme due to the costs spent on the design, redesign and community consultation.

The scheme was due to include up to 1,100 of new homes, office, retail and leisure space - with demolition work previously planned to start early this year.

Eastern Daily Press: Bob Weston, managing director of Weston HomesBob Weston, managing director of Weston Homes (Image: Weston Homes)

Bob Weston, chairman and managing director of Weston Homes, said: "It is with deep regret that after eight years of hard work, substantial staff time and resources and some £7.5 m of capital expenditure Weston Homes has been forced to cancel our plans for the redevelopment of Anglia Square.

"I am personally gutted to have to write off millions of pounds of company investment and not have a new scheme to show at the end of the venture.

"Weston Homes has bent over backwards to make this work and we have worked closely with Norwich City Council and the people of Norwich to try and realise a scheme that meets both local aspirations and is financially viable."

Weston Homes blamed the Conservative government, the switch away from office space due to the Covid pandemic and the nutrient neutrality directive, which blocked the building of new homes, for pushing up costs.

Eastern Daily Press: Anglia Square in NorwichAnglia Square in Norwich (Image: Antony Kelly)

That directive, through which developers had to provide mitigation to prevent new homes causing pollution, meant it had to pay £4m to the city council, while inflation had pushed up costs, Weston Homes said.

Weston Homes said the delays, including those caused when local government secretary Robert Jenrick blocked the original granting of planning permission by Norwich City Council in 2020, meant it could now not get as much money as had been hoped to make the scheme viable.

Mr Jenrick had said the 20-storey tower which had been proposed in the inital plans - dropped from the subsequently approved application - was of "excessive size in relation to its context".

Eastern Daily Press: Former local government secretary Robert JenrickFormer local government secretary Robert Jenrick

The project was due to get £15m from Homes England's Housing Infrastructure Fund, but the delays mean it can now only get £7m, the company said.

The company also said that while Norwich City Council had given the green light for it not to have to pay a levy on development, known as the community infrastructure levy (CIL) for the first two phases, it still left an extra £5.4m bill for the final two phases.

And Weston Homes said changes in government design guidelines meant it would have to cut the number of homes by 100, further hindering the viability of the project.

It also said the pandemic meant the demand for office space had fallen, with more people working from home.

Eastern Daily Press: An artist's impression of how the Anglia Square revamp would have lookedAn artist's impression of how the Anglia Square revamp would have looked (Image: Weston Homes)

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Mr Weston said: "There are sadly no winners with this outcome. The city and people of Norwich, Weston Homes and Anglia Square are all victims of this deeply unfortunate situation.

"This was a development calculated to create circa 2,211 direct construction jobs, another circa 288 jobs in the completed retail and commercial premises, with the residents of the new housing calculated to spend up to £36.4m per annum in the local Norwich economy.

"None of this will now happen. The core contributor to a lot of the issues in this saga is the Conservative government, which seems to have no understanding of the importance of supporting the housebuilding industry, regional cities and local communities in the UK."