Fears Norwich Anglia Square revamp scheme could be ‘blighted’ by insistence on school
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
The proposed redevelopment of Anglia Square could be at risk, city councillors have claimed, because Norfolk County Council wants part of the site to be set aside for a new primary school.
Developers Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes are due to submit a planning application for the shopping centre within months.
That application is likely to propose demolishing the existing shopping complex and building more than a thousand homes.
At a meeting of Norwich City Council yesterday, the authority's policy guidance note for Anglia Square - essentially a framework stating what would be acceptable at the site - was approved.
But councillors expressed concern that, as part of the consultation over that document, Norfolk County Council's children's services department said it wanted part of the redevelopment site safeguarded for a new primary school.
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Labour's Bert Bremner warned: 'If we allocate a school site there, we could blight it. We've got Magdalen Gates, Angel Road, George White and Mousehold Infant all within easy access.
'We don't want to blight this site just because Norfolk County Council simply flicks in something they have only just thought of because they did not get themselves organised.'
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Graham Nelson, head of planning at City Hall, acknowledged what the county council had requested was 'a real issue', which would need to be dealt with once a planning application was lodged.
The county council produced a plan last month outlining where new schools would be needed. There was no mention of a requirement for one at Anglia Square in that strategy.
However, a spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council said: 'The northern part of the city has been under pressure for additional places for a few years and we have been able to accommodate additional pupils by providing more places at existing schools.
'The Anglia Square residential component will provide further pressure and the suggestion of a new school is one option to deal with this.
'We will continue to discuss options with the city council to help ensure that pressure on school places from development is properly mitigated.'.
The developers were not available for comment.
Those suggestions had been put forward by civic watchdog The Norwich Society in response to the city council's consultation over the planning framework for the site.
But they were not included in the document approved yesterday - which will now be used to guide the development.
Committee chair Chris Herries said the document was not a 'wishlist' of what people wanted to see.
Officers said: 'There are no current proposals for a concert hall in this location and its viability is unclear.'
And, on the flyover demolition, officers said: 'Following consultation with Norfolk County Council it has been concluded that it is not appropriate to seek removal of the structure, which has considerable design life remaining.'