Neighbours want bid for more than 250 student flats on Norwich car park to be turned down

An image of how the development in the Sentinel House car park could look. Pic: Lanpro.

An image of how the development in the Sentinel House car park could look. Pic: Lanpro. - Credit: Lanpro

A scheme for more than 250 student flats on a Norwich city centre car park could be given the go-ahead next week, despite objections to the plans.

Last year, Norwich city councillors turned down plans for more than 280 student flats on the car park in Surrey Street, with people living in nearby Carlton Terrace fearing the development would dwarf and overshadow their homes.

But developers submitted a revised bid for the site, which used to be the car park for Aviva workers at Sentinel House, which is itself being converted into apartments.

The number of flats was cut to 252, while the heights of part of the proposed development has been reduced, with applicant Osbourne's agent Lanpro saying the revised scheme had been prepared to address the reasons the plan was previously rejected.

And officers at City Hall are recommending that these plans are given the go-ahead, despite objections from people who live nearby.

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Broadland Housing Association, which owns Carlton Terrace, has also objected, as has civic watchdog The Norwich Society, which branded the proposals 'insensitive and over development' of 'this important site'.

Neighbours have said the new development will still be overbearing and say the council should assess the need for student accommodation in the city centre, amid concerns over 'studentification'.

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Officers at City Hall acknowledge they 'lack detailed information on the need for student housing'.

In the report which will come before members of the city council's planning committee on Thursday, they say a study is under way.

But they say that will not be ready for 'several months' and, in the absence of such an assessment, 'there is no justification for refusal on grounds of lack of need'.

Officers also accept that the application is a departure from what the land is allocated for in the local plan - the council's blueprint for development.

The site is allocated in that for offices and homes, not solely residential. But officers say, with a lack of demand for offices, it is unlikely that type of development would happen, so they are prepared to accept the student flat alternative.

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