Calls made to sort out problems at Anglia Square in Norwich before planned re-development
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
Crime and other problems at Norwich's Anglia Square should be dealt with before any redevelopment of the shopping centre goes ahead, a meeting has heard.
About a dozen people joined former Labour MP for Norwich North Dr Ian Gibson for a meeting at Anglia Square's offices last night to voice their concerns about the area, which has been earmarked for development.
Issues mentioned included drug use, aggressive begging and traffic problems.
Stacey-Louise Wilson from the Norwich Over the Water Group, which organised the meeting, said that methadone - an opiate prescribed by doctors as a substitute for heroin - was issued by a pharmacy at the square. She said this had the effect of drawing drug users to the area, which increased crime.
She said: 'Maybe (the pharmacy) could stay open longer and serve the methadone outside business hours - something needs to change.'
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Ms Wilson said she was also concerned that independent traders could also be priced out if the square was redeveloped.
Dr Gibson called on Norwich City Council and the firms that wanted to redevelop Anglia Square - Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes - to listen to traders and nearby residents.
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He said: 'The public here have been sidelined in this process. In fact, they have been completely ignored and that's a mistake because they have got a lot of ideas, they know the problems.
'I'm concerned that this part of the city has been left behind, but it obviously has great potential.'
Robert Brand, who runs a fruit and vegetable shop there, said he wanted to remind people that Anglia Square was still open for business. He said: We're still here and it's still a good place to shop.'
Gail Mayhew, from the neighbourhood forum, said Anglia Square was a golden opportunity for Norwich. She said: 'This city has got a growing tech industry and people in their 20s are wanting to move back here. Anglia Square should be a huge opportunity.'
The developers are yet to put in a full planning application to the city council for the site, which includes the vacant former office building Sovereign House, the condemned multi-storey car park fronting Edward Street, and Surrey Chapel Free Church.
Another meeting about Anglia Square is planned for late July.