Long-running wrangle over future use of Norwich city centre car park comes to an end

Rouen Road car park in Norwich, which has been at the centre of a long-running wrangle. Photo: Steve

Rouen Road car park in Norwich, which has been at the centre of a long-running wrangle. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

A long-running wrangle over what the future will hold for a Norwich city centre car park has come to an end.

The pay and display car park in Rouen Road was involved in an unlikely tug of war, stretching back more than five years, between Norwich City Council and Norfolk County Council.

In a blueprint for future development, City Hall, which owns the site, had wanted the car park and nearby industrial units to be allocated as a location where up to a 100 homes could potentially be built.

But County Hall wanted the site to be allocated in that plan as a possible site for a new 210-place primary school for children from Lakenham, Mancroft, Thorpe Hamlet and Trowse.

A planning inspector got involved and recommended a rewording of the blueprint - known as the site allocations plan - so the county council was given a four year period to establish whether the school was needed and, if it concluded it was, to get its plans lodged.

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And the county council has signalled that it is no longer considering the car park for a school, which opens the doorway for up to a hundred homes to be built on the car park - if a suitable application comes forward.

A spokesman said: 'With regard to the Rouen Road site, it has been earmarked in the local plan and would serve the southern area of the city.

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'However the need for the site has diminished with the establishment of the Charles Darwin Free school, which is well placed to serve Riverside and nearby development areas.

'We have therefore moved away in our place planning strategy from this site.'

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'We've received notification from the county council that they don't want to use the site for a school. While the local plan potentially allows for housing in that location there's an operational car park on Rouen Road and as such there are no immediate plans to redevelop that area for housing.'

As previously reported, the county council has said it wants part of the redevelopment site at Anglia Square shopping centre in Norwich to be safeguarded for a potential school.

City councillor Bert Bremner expressed concern that to do so could 'blight' the chances of redevelopment.

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