‘Eyesore’ shoe factory’s transformation into care home to begin in March
- Credit: Archant
Works to transform an “eyesore” ex-shoe factory on the outskirts of Norwich into a care home and assisted living facility could get underway as soon as March 2021.
The former Start-Rite shoe factory on Mousehold Lane, which has sat vacant for 15 years, is set to be refurbished as a 79-bed care home and 42 supported living homes.
Proposals for the scheme were approved more than a year ago by Norwich City Council, which saw planning officers undertake the decision via delegated authority.
And now developer Boudica Developments’ vision for the site is a step closer to becoming reality after the firm’s purchase of the 2.18 acre site in Sprowston was completed last week for £1.5m.
Director Nicholas Clark said the developers were currently wrapping up investigations at the site and hoped to begin building works as soon as March-June 2021.
“To be finally bringing this forward in a very challenging time - for a sector that needs help - we’re very happy,” he said.
The plans were first unveiled in November 2018, over a decade after the site closed down in 2004.
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The revamped building, next to the Rishi Indian restaurant, once put to use will be operated by Avery Healthcare, a national chain of carehomes, and expected to provide more than 100 jobs, including 76 full-time positions.
Mr Clark said the firm initially intended to work with Magnum Care and the National Care Group (NCG), with plans for Norfolk County Council to operate the site.
But he said Avery had come on board and hoped to work with the firm to open more sites in Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire.
“During that time we’ve been hit with Brexit and then we were hit with Covid-19,” he added.
“Avery being a top national operator in the UK, they felt this was an opportunity they shouldn’t pass up.”
The plans were approved in June 2019, with Boudica working with planning consultants Lanpro and were welcomed by residents.
When the plans were publicised, one neighbour described the ex-factory as an “eyesore” and “the ugliest site on the ring road”.
Mr Clark added: “The new care home and living scheme will be high-quality, bringing one of the premier UK operators into a purpose-built facility, in a highly-visible and prominent location.
“It will provide a solution to a site, which has been an eyesore for some considerable time.
“The flagship home will be Avery’s first within Norfolk.”