£370m Generation Park plans withdrawn - but developers vow to return to the table

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like.

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like. - Credit: Archant

Plans for the £370m Generation Park project have been officially withdrawn with its backers citing funding issues and substantial delays but reaffirming their commitment to the site.

Norwich Powerhouse, set up to oversee the creation of Generation Park, between Thorpe St Andrew and Whitlingham, first revealed at the end of November it was struggling to secure investment.

A Company Voluntary Arrangement was since put in place to repay between 50 and 60 creditors, and the scheme was 'mothballed' awaiting further private investment.

The University of East Anglia have already invested millions of pounds, and say they have 'no plans to make any further investment in the project.'

It is now almost a year since the original planning application was submitted and Prof Trevor Davies, of the NPH, said he hoped a new application could be made 'within months'.

'Discussions and negotiations with investors had not gone as quickly as we would have liked,' he said.

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'That was initially some uncertainty in investors minds about the government's stance on renewable energy. 'In the last two or three months, especially with overseas investors, there had been signs of uncertainty over Brexit. We have now got over that.

'We felt the decision to withdraw was the right one given the time elapsed since the original application. We want further opportunity for the public to be consulted on the whole application and we will be putting in a refreshed application as soon as we can.

'Funding is achievable but it will be a challenge. This is one of the biggest investments in Norwich if not the biggest, so the investment climate is important but the discussions we are having now are very positive.'

Graham Nelson, head of planning at Norwich City Council, said: 'There have been ongoing discussions between us and the Powerhouse behind the scenes about why they are missing their deadlines, and in the circumstances it becomes quite difficult for meaningful public engagement in a process if we are waiting for around a year to consult on revised proposals.

'We would be very vulnerable to legal challenges if we had been minded to approve the application without the information we have requested. Ultimately we would like to see this site developed in accordance with the local plan, but I am glad this application has been withdrawn because it was confusing for the public in letting it linger with no actual work being done.

'I do not want this to kill any prospects of redeveloping the site, and it must not.'