Anglia Square revamp could create 500 new jobs and pump £40m into economy, say Norwich City Council officers
- Credit: Archant
The controversial revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square has the potential to create more than 500 new jobs, while people living in the new homes could spend up to £40m a year, council officers have said.
Officers at Norwich City Council are recommending the planning committee gives the £271m scheme the go-ahead when it meets at City Hall on Thursday, December 6.
The plans from Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, would see buildings in the shopping complex replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, a hotel, car parks, a 20-storey tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.
Council officers say that the proposal is 'finely balanced', but say the level of economic and social benefits, would 'outweigh' the harm of the development on the setting of historic landmarks.
A report which will go before councillors details the predicted economic and employment benefits of the scheme, which would take eight years to build if it gets the go-ahead.
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They say construction would directly employ 250 to 300 workers on site per day - an 8pc increase in the number of construction jobs in the city.
And they say, once Anglia Square is revamped and re-opened, there would be 536 to 763 full and part-time jobs in the shops, offices, bars, hotel and so on. There are currently about 200 to 250 jobs there.
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Officers also say it is estimated that the households of the 1,250 new homes planned could generate between £23.2m to £40.7m a year in spending on food and drink, clothes, footwear and household goods, services and leisure and cultural activities.
They say: 'A significant proportion of this spending is likely to be retained in the Anglia Square, Magdalen Street and St Augustines Street Large District Centre and within Norwich city centre.'
The developers have signalled they hope Anglia Square will be the first city site to be excused from paying a levy to fund infrastructure.
They say the scheme would not be viable if they were charged the estimated £8.8m community infrastructure levy, while the 120 affordable homes proposed is below the city council's target for such schemes.
The city council has received 939 comments on the original proposals and the revised plans. Of that number, 767 objected and 120 supported it.
Objectors include Historic England, the Norwich Society, the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral, Castle Mall, Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine's Neighbourhood Forum and St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association.
What happens next?
While officers at Norwich City Council are recommending the Anglia Scheme is approved, the final decision rests with 13 city councillors.
The City Hall meeting starts at 9.30am on Thursday, December 6. People will be able to speak in support and against the application. The committee members will then ask questions of officers, make comments and reach a decision.
In theory, if permission is granted, the developer would be able to get on and start work. But the reality is likely to be different.
Historic England has signalled that if the committee gives approval, it wants the decision 'called in', so the final decision would rest with the secretary of state for housing.
If permission is rejected by the committee, the developers could choose to appeal.
We will be broadcasting the meeting live on this newspaper's Facebook page. Check for the decision and reaction on this website on Thursday, December 6.