Living wall will bring colour to revamped area of Norwich

New life is being breathed into an area of Norwich which has been full of construction workers and scaffolding for more than a year, thanks to the refurbishment of the city's Marks and Spencer store.

Malthouse Road, which runs between Rampant Horse Street and Chapelfield Plain, and provides a walkway between the M&S store and St Stephen's Church, will soon be looking a lot greener.

The new glass-fronted M&S extension has brought a modern look to the walkway after almost 18 months of building work at M&S and two years at the medieval church, which was surrounded by scaffolding until recently after a burst water main damaged its foundations and left part of it close to collapse in October 2009.

As well as the building work not being easy on the eye for shoppers, it also reduced the walkway to half its normal width. But now the building work is clearing and shoots of recovery are providing added colour to the area.

A 'living wall' is being installed on the brick part of the M&S building on Malthouse Road, covering 152sqm and including 11 species of plant.

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Work started on the wall yesterday and M&S store manager Andy Barber is hoping it will add further appeal to the store ahead of its opening on Thursday, September 22. He said: 'To have this living wall in the middle of the new building work, 152sqm of it, is going to be brilliant.'

The company which has designed the living wall takes inspiration from one of scientist Albert Einstein's quotes, which reads: 'If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, man would only have four years to live.'

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They have chosen plants which they hope will provide a friendly environment for bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

The regeneration of the whole area should benefit the look of Norwich city centre to people coming into the city to shop and Mr Barber is pleased M&S could contribute.

He added: 'If you look across from the car park between the church and Assembly House now, it really is a lovely view.'

What do you think of the improvements to Malthouse Road? Write to Evening News Letters at Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1JE or email

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