Issues which will be at heart of Anglia Square inquiry are revealed

Plans for Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes

Plans for Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes - Credit: Weston Homes

The inspector who will recommend whether Norwich's controversial £275m Anglia Square redevelopment should happen has revealed the key matters he will consider at next year's planning inquiry.

Ian Gibson, former Labour MP for Norwich North.; Photo: Denise Bradley.

Ian Gibson, former Labour MP for Norwich North.; Photo: Denise Bradley. - Credit: vÉÄövǬ©Archant Pho

Air quality, the scheme's viability and whether it fits government policies over supplying homes, building a strong economy and conserving and enhancing the historic environment will be among considerations.

Norwich City Council's planning committee had granted permission to Weston Homes for the redevelopment of the shopping complex almost a year ago.

But the government announced it was calling in the decision, after a request from Historic England, which feared the impact of the development - and its 20-storey tower - on the character of Norwich.

The call-in will see an inspector hold almost three weeks of hearings, starting on January 28, before making a recommendation to the communities secretary on whether the scheme should go-ahead or not.

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The minister could decide to go with their recommendation - or ignore it.

It will now be up to the inspector to hear the cases of those for and against the development, which includes 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 200-bed hotel, the tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.

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At a pre-inquiry meeting on Tuesday inspector David Prentis outlined the form the hearings would take - and the specific matters the Secretary of State had asked to be informed about.

Those issues include supply of housing, the vitality of town centres, the historic environment, air quality and building a strong economy.

The meeting at City Hall was attended by representatives from Weston Homes, Norwich City Council, Historic England, Norwich Cycling Campaign, Norwich Greens, a group of Labour councillors who were against the plans, Norwich Over The Water Party and Clive Lewis's office.

Ian Gibson, former Norwich North MP, asked what would happen if a new government gets in and changes policies, such as over affordable housing.

Mr Prentis said: "In the event that policy changes before the end of the inquiry, then we will have to deal with that."

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