Former hub of Norwich’s telephone network could make way for new homes

An image of what the new apartments in Westwick Street would look like. Pic: LSI Architects.

An image of what the new apartments in Westwick Street would look like. Pic: LSI Architects. - Credit: LSI Architects

It's an unassuming building which many people would probably walk past without so much as a second glance.

Telephone Repeater Station in Westwick Street, Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Telephone Repeater Station in Westwick Street, Norwich.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

But the end could be near for what was once a crucial hub in Norwich's telephone network.

Plans have been lodged with Norwich City Council to demolish the 1950s-built building in Westwick Street, previously BT's telephone repeater station.

All telephone traffic used to be carried over copper conductors in telephone cables. But because copper wire is resistent to electrical signals, the power of the signals diminishes over distance.

To help make long-distance calls audible, amplification was needed – which is what happened at the telephone repeater station.


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But the development of modern optic cables rendered such stations redundant.

So Telereal Securitised Property GP Ltd and British Telecommunications want to demolish the one in Westwick Street to make way for 42 apartments.

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Cattle Market Street-based LSI Architects have come up with proposals for those apartments in two L-shaped blocks – one of five storeys and one of four storeys. The apartments would be one and two bedroom flats.

The proposal has been welcomed by civic watchdog The Norwich Society.

The society's administrator, Victoria Manthorpe, said: 'We are impressed with this proposal, which is imaginative, a good scale and will help to enhance the area.'

However, there have been concerns raised by neighbours over what one resident described as 'an unduly dense and visually dominant form of development'.

The application will be discussed at a future meeting of Norwich City Council's planning committee.

Are you battling against a planning application where you live? Call Dan Grimmer on 01603 772375 or email dan.grimmer@archant.co.uk

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