Latest twist in Anglia Square saga as High Court battle looms

The plans for Anglia Square, which will now be subject to a planning inquiry. Photo: Weston Homes

The plans for Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes - Credit: Weston Homes

The long-running saga of a proposed £271m redevelopment of Anglia Square has taken another twist, with its fate set to be sealed once and for all in a High Court battle next year.

Last month, controversial plans to demolish the shopping centre and gentrify the area were turned down by Robert Jenirck, the secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.

The multi-million-pound project was initially given the green light by Norwich City Council's planning committee back in December 2018, but after following a judicial review, a two-week public inquiry and months of consideration, this decision was over-ruled.

The highly-divisive plans, which include a 20-storey tower block, were ruled out by Mr Jenrick, despite a planning inspector recommending he grant it permission.

And this has prompted developer Weston Homes and site owner Columbia Threadneedle to apply for a statutory review of the secretary of state's decision, which if approved could see a High Court judge over-rule the decision and allow the scheme to go ahead.

Bob Weston of Weston Homes. Pic: Archant Library.

Bob Weston of Weston Homes. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Archant

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Bob Weston, chief executive of Weston Homes, said: "At a time of extreme economic hardship and with Norwich on the edge of a deep recession the secretary of state chose to refuse a massive investment opportunity for the city.

"His decision flies-in-the-face of government policy on housing delivery and encouraging brownfield-land regeneration in order to protect the greenbelt.”

“Alan Waters, the leader of Norwich City Council, has gone on record and said that Robert Jenrick has overturned local democracy and an extensive public inquiry. The decision also seriously jeopardises the £15m of government Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) money already allocated to accelerate the development of the site."

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Should the application be granted, a full hearing will take place in either spring or summer 2021.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick announced more funding for councils to house homeless people during

Housing minister Robert Jenrick announced more funding for councils to house homeless people during lockdown. Photo: PA - Credit: PA

The scheme had been recommended for approval by a planning inspector last month, a decision that was two months behind schedule, but Mr Jenrick instead refused to grant planning permission.

Mr Jenrick said that the benefits of the scheme were not sufficient to outbalance the identified ‘less than substantial’ harm to heritage assets.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government was approached for comment.

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