Call for public inquiry into £325m Generation Park Norwich project

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like.

Architects' image of what the proposed Generation Park in Norwich would look like. - Credit: Archant

Four Green Party councillors are calling for a public inquiry into a planned £325m project on the outskirts of Norwich – but developers say it would be 'unnecessary'.

The quartet fears Norwich City Council's planning committee and members of the Broads Authority may not have the expertise to deal with the application for Generation Park due to its sheer size and wide-ranging implications.

But the developers have hit back – saying Norwich City Council and the Broads Authority had both confirmed prior to the application being submitted that they had the skills required to judge the proposal.

The developers hope to build a 30-acre utility site on a patch of wasteland between Thorpe Hamlet and Whitlingham.

The proposals feature a straw pellet-burning energy plant, producing electricity for major power users and heat for businesses and houses via a district heating network.


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The scheme also includes 120 homes, student accommodation, an education centre, a research base, 11 acres of parkland, plus new cycle routes and walkways.

Andrew Boswell, leader of the city council's Green Party group, said: 'It is very important that the right decision is made because there are a wide range of issues from local air quality and pollution, noise and traffic. Given the unique location, the growing concern of residents, and the range of issues involved, we are not confident that the city council and Broads Authority planning committees have the necessary expertise to decide on a project of this complexity.'

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He is supported by city council colleagues Lesley Grahame and Ben Price, and Norfolk county councillor Adrian Dearnley.

Conrad Jones, a member of Generation Park Residents which campaigns against the application, said it was pleasing to see others raising concerns but didn't support the call for an inquiry as the group wants the proposal turned down.

A spokesman for Generation Park Norwich said it undertook 'extensive pre-application consultation with the city council and Broads Authority'.

'The scope of the planning applications and their supporting assessments were agreed with the councils in advance of submission,' the spokesman said.

'This proposal is the biggest opportunity to cut carbon in Norwich for a generation as well as conducting research that has the potential to reduce global warming.'

Spokesmen for Norwich City Council and the Broads Authority said planning is subject to a robust and transparent process and the consultation would help inform the recommendation to the planning committee.

What do you think? Email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk and include full contact details.

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