‘Lego-like’ building on former Burrell’s site in Norwich escapes demolition, but must be changed

Councillors will be asked to take enforcement action over the Unthank Road shop redevelopment. Pic:

Councillors will be asked to take enforcement action over the Unthank Road shop redevelopment. Pic: Dan Grimmer. - Credit: Archant

Builders of a 'Lego-like' former shop in Norwich have been told to carry out major renovations - but they escaped calls for it to be demolished completely.

Permission was granted in 2016 for the former Burrell's ironmongers shop to be demolished and replaced with a new building, consisting of a fish and chip restaurant, shop and a flat.

However, after the resultant building was judged to have not been built in line with its planning permission, City Hall proposed taking enforcement action against it.

These proposals were agreed by members of the city council's planning committee, though some councillors called for its demolition.

A number of councillors expressed an interest in knocking down the building altogether, describing it as looking like 'Lego' and 'a monstrosity'.

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Following debate, though, members instead voted to endorse the recommended enforcement action, which included ordering them to repaint the building's fascia, replacing its windows and installing a new shop front.

Karen Davis, councillor for the Town Close ward, said: 'The building looks like it has been made from Lego – I believe it should be demolished and rebuilt as the council agreed.'

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Denise Carlo, city councillor for the Nelson ward, added: 'It does not fit with the Victorian character of the area and I agree it would be best if the building was demolished.'

James Wright, Lib Dem city councillor, who sits on the committee, described the possible demolition as 'a nuclear option' – but added it was the option he was in favour of taking and described it as 'completely out of keeping with the rest of the area'.

Fellow committee members Rachel Trevor and Marion Maxwell also spoke in favour of the building coming down.

But Keith Driver, the committee's chairman, said: 'I do not think the building is acceptable, but do not think it should be torn down.

'The people who built it have been naive but painting the front and side of the building will make a difference.'

Committee member Ian Stutely also warned against demolishing the building, given that it is a family's home.

Members instead voted to take the enforcement action set out by officers in the recommendations.

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