Developer of Norwich’s Anglia Square hopes to avoid paying £8.8m levy
- Credit: Weston Homes
Developers behind plans for Norwich's Anglia Square are hoping to be excused from paying almost £9m, if their proposals get the go-ahead.
Officers at Norwich City Council are recommending the planning committee give the £271m proposal permission on Thursday, December 6.
The plans would see buildings in the shopping complex replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 20-storey tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.
Of the homes, 120 would be affordable. That is below the council's target, but the developers say more would render the scheme unviable.
And applicant Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, have signalled they hope Anglia Square will be the first city site to be excused from paying a levy to fund infrastructure.
The city council agreed on Tuesday, November 27 to bring in a policy allowing an exemption on community infrastructure levy - money developers contribute to a cash pot for infrastructure, such as roads and schools, across Greater Norwich.
But the Anglia Square applicant says the scheme would not be viable if they were charged the estimated £8.8m levy.
An exemption decision would have to be made by the planning committee, although that would come at a later date, not at next week's meeting.
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The council had already secured more than £12m from the government to help get the site unlocked. However, that was based on the original plans and the council has yet to hear if the updated bid has cleared the second approval stage.
Meanwhile, Historic England, which objected to the scheme, confirmed it has asked for the issue to be called in by the Secretary of State for a final decision, if permission is given.
John Neale, Historic England planning director in the East of England, said: 'We are disappointed by the recommendation, but I look forward to speaking at the committee meeting and making our case.
'We very much hope the planning committee will turn the application down.'
Weston Homes said it would not comment ahead of the meeting as 'anything now could prejudice the outcome.'
People urged to register to have their say at crunch meeting
People who want to speak at the meeting where a decision over the Anglia Square plans will be made are urged to register with Norwich City Council.
Only people who submitted comments on the application during the planning process will be allowed to speak at the City Hall meeting.
People will be given three minutes to outline their views to the planning committee, which consists of 10 city councillors.
Those who had submitted comments and who would like to speak at the meeting should email firstname.lastname@example.org before 10am on Wednesday, December 5.
People have been taking to Twitter to urge people to register and to attend the meeting which will be held in the council chamber at City Hall from 9.30am on Thursday, December 6.
The Anglia Square application is the only item on the agenda.