Councillors hope calling in government secretary will stop £271m Anglia Square revamp

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Councillors hope that getting the attention of communities secretary James Brokenshire will put a stop to the controversial £271m revamp of Anglia Square in Norwich.

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The scheme from Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle was approved by seven votes to five by members of Norwich City Council's planning committee in December.

It would see the current buildings in Anglia Square demolished and replaced with new blocks including 1,234 homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 200-bed hotel, a 20-storey high tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.

The scheme has already come under fire from Historic England, the Norwich Society, Norwich Cathedral, designer Wayne Hemingway and architecture author Matthew Rice.

Historic England, which said the development would harm Norwich's character, originally triggered a bid to get the issue called in by Mr Brokenshire.

Members of Norwich City Council's planning committee carry out a site visit at Anglia Square. Pictur

Members of Norwich City Council's planning committee carry out a site visit at Anglia Square. Picture: David Hannant - Credit: Archant

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Residents met at St Augustine's Hall, Gildencroft, Norwich on Thursday to raise issues about the plans with Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine's Forum and St Augustine's Community Together Residents Association to form a plan of action.

The meeting was attended by a number of councillors from Norwich City Council including Hugo Malik, Joanna Smith and Denise Carlo.

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Ms Carlo said: 'Historic England approached the call in request but the city council is looking to oppose it, so several councillors agreed to say that there wasn't opposition to the call in and we want it called in.

'If James Brokenshire does come in we hope he finds that planning permission should not have been given, on the grounds of national importance because of Norwich as a historical city.

Anglia Square. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Anglia Square. Picture: Sonya Duncan - Credit: Sonya Duncan

'The development is very modern and high-rise, we don't need a tower towering over the area.'

Issues raised also included the fact that the scale model of the revamp, which was shown by the developers, was not large enough for residents to get an idea about the impact it would have.

The phasing of the project was brought into question with the social housing aspect of the scheme being completed last, leaving some residents to believe that the developers will build the larger homes and retail outlets but not the social housing.

What is a call in?

Residents and opposing councillors are hoping to call in government and communities secretary James Brokenshire which would mean that he would have final say on the development.

Essentially it takes the control away local authorities and allows Mr Brokenshire to look over the planning process and make a decision.

But for Mr Brokenshire to be called in to make that decision there us a set of rules that the development must have broken.

Those can be any of; the plan conflicts with national policies on important matters, have significant long-term impact on economic growth and meeting housing needs across a wider area, have significant effects beyond their immediate locality, give rise to substantial cross-boundary or national controversy, raise significant architectural and urban design issues or involve the interests of national security or of foreign Governments.

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