Vision for new city hotel facing opposition from independent traders

Jonty Young is the gatekeeper of the Norwich Lanes, working with landlords to ensure chain stores ar

Jonty Young, spokesman of the Norwich Lanes Association. Mr Young is the gatekeeper of the Norwich Lanes, made up of more than 300 independent businesses and he works with landlords to ensure chain stores are kept out and shops are never empty. There is a waiting list of retailers wanting to move in to the Lanes. - Credit: Archant

A proposed 90-bedroom hotel in Norwich city centre is facing fierce opposition from neighbouring traders.

chamberlain house

Chamberlain House, which is earmarked to be turned into a 90 bedroom hotel in the city centre. - Credit: Archant

Revised proposals to convert Chamberlain House, on the corner of Guildhall Hill and Dove Street, into a large hotel together with a supermarket and shop units were made last week.

The plans are now subject to a 'virtual exhibition' with feedback invited because they can't go out to public consultation in the usual way as a result of coronavirus.

But Jonty Young, who is spokesman for the Norwich Lanes Association, said it will be formally opposing the plans.

He said members of the Lanes, made up of more than 300 retailers, owners of cafes, pubs, bars and restaurants, said they would be discussing the revised plans later this week.

“We will, in the near future, be objecting to this planning application, citing several very good reasons why it should be blocked and ultimately thrown out," he said.

"The Norwich Lanes is arguably the largest city centre community of independent only businesses to be found anywhere in the UK and it’s imperative for the local economy, that they stay that way.” 

new proposed hotel

The proposed hotel which will span from Guildhall Hill, down Dove Street and along Pottergate. - Credit: AWW

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Plans for the hotel which aims to convert Chamberlain House,  once a massive department store in Victorian times, were initially submitted last July.

Later last year the plans were withdrawn and a revised vision was unveiled to Norwich City Council last week.

A website has been launched detailing the full plans, which now include the retention of a silver maple tree, changes to the hotel roofline and a redesigned elevation along Pottergate. The rear has also been redesigned along with a new hotel entrance on Guildhall Hill.

After public feedback has been sought for the scheme, the aim is, subject to planning approval, that work could start on the hotel early next year with the aim for it to open at the end of 2023.

Chamberlin's was a renowned department store several storeys high which dominated Norwich city centre.

But some are questioning the building's suitability as a large hotel because of its location and lack of parking facilities.

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