Hopes Colman’s site could be at heart of scheme for 4,000 homes and 6,000 jobs

Previous plans for the Deal Ground site. Pic: Archant Library.

Previous plans for the Deal Ground site. Pic: Archant Library. - Credit: Norwich City Council

Up to 4,000 new homes and 6,000 extra jobs, including at the former Colman’s site, could be created as part of a new gateway to Norwich, say council leaders.

Colman's in Norwich has closed. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images

Colman's in Norwich has closed. Pic: Victoria Jones/PA Wire/PA Images - Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Some half a million pounds is to be spent on a masterplan and feasibility studies for 123 acre area to the east of Norwich, including the sites at Carrow Works, the Deal Ground and the Utilities site.

As well as homes, they say thousands of jobs could be created and are also exploring the creation of a marina in the area.

But the success of the ambitious hopes for the future development of the area, between Trowse, Whitlingham and Thorpe St Andrew, will hinge on improvements to Trowse swing bridge, Norwich City Council officers warned.

Council leaders and officers believe development of East Norwich has the potential to act as a long-term catalyst for regeneration of the wider area.The Labour-controlled city council cabinet will next week meet to bring forward plans to create the East Norwich Partnership – a new public-private sector group to steer preparation of a masterplan for the area.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor.

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council. Pic: Jeff Taylor. - Credit: Archant

The council says that partnership includes government agency Homes England - which funds affordable housing - is interested in the scheme, while talks with landowners/developers, the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, Norfolk County Council, the Broads Authority and South Norfolk Council.

City Hall officers said: “The comprehensive redevelopment of the sites has the potential to create a highly sustainable new quarter for the city, linking the city centre with the Broads, delivering exemplar design and creating a highly attractive location for living and working.”

But they say the long-standing issue of the future of the railway bridge at Thorpe needs to be sorted. They say: “Access to the sites to the east of the railway bridge is constrained by the current railway bridge which hinders vehicular, pedestrian and cycle access to the sites from the city centre.

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“Planning is made more difficult given uncertainties about whether a scheme to replace Trowse Rail Bridge will come forward, the timing of this, and whether options involving a fixed bridge will be favoured.”

Alan Waters, leader of Norwich City Council, said that getting more homes built would aid the city’s recovery from the impact of coronavirus.

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The cabinet will be asked to agree to start a tender process appoint consultants to do the masterplan and studies, funded by money from the council, the landowners and other partners.

Permission to build 670 homes at the Deal Ground was given in 2013, but work has yet to start.

A bid for government cash to unlock infrastructure, including new bridges to better link the site to the city, was rejected two years ago.

The Colman’s Mustard Factory closed the gates to its Norwich factory for the final time last month, having called the site home for nearly 166 years.The brand is owned by Unilever, which announced in March 2018 it was shutting the Carrow Works site, making 113 redundant or reassigned.

The move came after Britvic, which makes products like Fruit Shoots and Robinsons, announced it was closing its factory in October 2017.

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