Heritage group objects to �100m development on Norwich outskirts

A heritage group has objected to plans for a �100m development on the outskirts of Norwich - but developers said the scheme was a 'unique solution to the constraints of the sites'.

The application for a mixed residential/commercial development on the May Gurney and Deal Ground sites in Trowse was submitted earlier this month.

The brownfield site is the biggest area of undeveloped land in the city and speculation has raged for years as to what the future could hold for the site.

An original application for its redevelopment was submitted in 2010 but council bosses never got round to discussing it.

Outline plans lodged with Norwich City and South Norfolk councils would see 670 new homes, a new local centre, restaurant dining quarter and a pub, commercial space, and would also create new habitats for wildlife.

Norwich Rivers Heritage Group objected to the original application and its chairman Matthew Williams said today: 'The group has looked in detail at what is being been proposed on this site under this new application, and it is just as appalling as the previous scheme.

'The existing low-lying marshy area that could have been sensitively developed as a transitional gateway between rural Whitlingham Park and urban Carrow has been shown covered in numerous high rise residential blocks up to eight storeys high that will overshadow the river and spread back over existing natural marshland.'

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The group has also warned that the low-lying site will be subject to uncontrolled flooding, and added in a statement of objection: 'As it stands, and even if significantly curtailed by planning control, the proposed development is regarded by our group as commercial opportunism at an extreme level, and a very long way from representing a genuine long-term sustainable solution on this important site. Accordingly, we are requesting that the application should be rejected.'

However, Chris Leeming, a director of Norwich-based planning consultants, Lanpro Services, said the points raised by the group had been discussed at length on numerous occasions.

He said flood capacity was actually increased as a result of the scheme and that the height of buildings varied in response to physical restraints, views and landscape.

He said: 'With a scheme of this size and complexity, points of detail cannot be taken in isolation from other factors. A balanced and sustainable scheme will have considered all the factors and arrived at the best overall outcome.

'This is a landowner led scheme rather than a developer led scheme. The site is allocated in the Local Plan and about �1m has been spent on the appraisals, technical studies and scheme design.

'A top level international team was given a free reign to appraise the site for constraints, carry out technical studies and design an exemplary scheme.

'The result is a sustainable and enlightened scheme and a bespoke and unique solution to the constraints of the sites.'

The land is owned by Norfolk-based developer Serruys Property Company. The Deal Ground site has been left vacant for three decades and was formerly used for workshops and the manufacturing of packing cases associated with Reckitt and Colman.

Do you know about a new development planned for your neighbourhood? Call reporter David Bale on 01603 772427 or email david.bale2@archant.co.uk.

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