Independent school lodges fresh bid for dining hall after rejection over trees
- Credit: LSI Architects
An independent school has lodged a fresh bid to build a dining hall after councillors turned down the initial proposals.
Last summer, Norwich City Council’s planning committee rejected the Norwich School’s plans to build a new dining room, kitchen block and teaching facilities at its Bishop’s Palace Lawn site at Norwich Cathedral, despite planning officers recommending the application be approved.
The decision hinged on 12 trees which would be felled, including a 35-metre London Plane, which is estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old and is protected by a tree preservation order.
Those 12 trees would still be felled, but the new proposal includes more soft landscaping and tree planting within the site, the school says. It includes 21 replacement and new trees within the application site, including two large ones, 62 new trees in the immediate Cathedral precinct and within City Centre Conservation Area and 688 trees and 130 young saplings which had already been proposed off-site.
Documents submitted as part of the application say they have explored keeping or relocating the London Plane, but neither option was feasible.
Headmaster Steffan Griffiths said: “The proposal responds to a pressing need for new dining and teaching facilities, together with landscaped outdoor spaces and improved access. It aims to deliver a high quality and visually appealing building that responds well to the important heritage of its surroundings. The intent is for the building to be used by community, charitable and educational groups, as well as by the school.
“The school has always been committed to finding a development solution that delivers both environmental and community benefits for Norwich. The net benefits of the revised landscaping scheme are considerable and will further enhance the site by improving biodiversity and sustainability. It will deliver a major tree replacement and new planting scheme in the beautiful city centre to enhance the conservation area’s green character.”
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Chairman of governors Patrick Smith said the scheme was the outcome of almost four years of consultation.
“In particular, we have taken time to reflect on the reasons for rejection in 2019 and have worked extensively with our team of advisors, neighbours and Norwich City Council Officers to ascertain how best to address previous concerns,” he said. “The school is now very proud of this new scheme.”
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