Car park arena plans back before planners

The Block, Norwich

An image showing how the entrance to Block Norwich could look. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

A proposal to build an arena made from shipping containers in a disused city car park will go back before planners next week.

The multimillion-pound vision to transform land off Mountergate in Norwich, which has been vacant for 20 years, into a 300-seat arena called the Norwich Block will be heard by the council planning committee for the second time.

In November, councillors deferred the application over frustrations that they did not have enough information about the noise impact on neighbours.

Car Park

The former Norwich City Council car park where Block Norwich could be built is currently vacant and boarded up. - Credit: Jessica Coppins

Ahead of the last meeting, the council's environmental protection officer made several recommendations for reducing noise on the site, including a device that would shut off the sound system if it went above a certain volume.  

However, the noise impact assessment by Teampartner Three, one of the companies behind the plans, was disputed by South Norfolk Council leader John Fuller, who owns property near the site.

He told the committee he had carried out an independent assessment which raised concerns over the developer's submission - including that the assessment was based on children's voices. 

Councillors debated the plans for almost an hour and a half before deciding to defer it.

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Marion Maxwell proposed the deferral, arguing they needed more information from their environment officer, who had been unable to attend the meeting.

The proposal that will go before Norwich City Council on Thursday will be slightly different to the one first touted, with developers tweaking their plans after listening to fears of neighbours living nearby.

Block Norwich

An overhead view of the proposed Block Norwich venue. - Credit: Ellis Williams Architects

Initially, the scheme had included outdoor attractions such as fairground rides, market stalls and a beer garden.

However, these aspects have since been removed.

James Bradbury, managing director of Teampartner Three, said: "Listening to the local residents and understanding their concerns we have adapted our plans which we strongly believe will have a significant positive impact on the area and will help re-build the local community, improve the safety of the area and go a long way to restore the 'spirit' between us and our neighbours.

James Bradbury

James Bradbury, managing director of The Clear Idea. - Credit: James Bradbury

"We really want our neighbours to be ultimately proud of Block."

Should the plans get permission it would allow the venue to be in situ initially for a year, with Mr Bradbury adding events would kick off in Easter 2022.

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