New ‘landmark’ hotel could form part of £100m revamp of Norwich shoe factories
- Credit: Architekton
Fresh details of a £100m revamp to breathe life into two former Norwich shoe factories have been revealed, including the possibility of almost 200 homes and a new hotel.
Plans for the area around St Mary's Works and St George's Works are being developed, with architect developers Architekton looking to transform the site into starter homes, family houses and 'prime' homes - for those aged 55 years and over - as well as 'live/work' spaces, technical and creative hubs.
Following consultation with the public, some aspects of the proposed scheme were announced in the summer, but the developers presented city councillors with some of their other ideas at a meeting yesterday.
It includes the demolition of St Mary's House on St Crispins roundabout to build a hotel with about a hundred beds, turning St Mary's Works into a 'factory of the mind' and building around 196 new homes.
An initial planning application is due to be lodged with the city council next month, with more specific proposals to be submitted in summer next year.
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Dominic Richards, from Architekton, which has offices in Norwich and London, said: 'We have two of the largest remaining shoe factories in Norwich and it's important that we respect that industrial heritage.
'I think the whole development will be improved by keeping those buildings and re-purposing it. What I don't want to do is convert St Mary's Works into a lot of little flats. When you do that you lose the space, so we are proposing an easy-in, easy-out incubator for microbusinesses. We want to make this a factory of the mind.'
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The plans for the factory include a glass roof, which Mr Richards likened to the famous pyramids at the Louvre in Paris.
The housing would, he told councillors, be a mix of homes for families, starter homes and homes for people aged 55 who wanted to swap larger homes for city centre living.
Other homes would combine offices and living space for people running their own businesses, while some of the properties would have a concierge service.
But, in response to councillors who questioned whether some people would be priced out of living in the area, Mr Richards said they were looking into ways to provide housing for key workers.
On plans to demolish St Mary's House and build a hotel in its place, Mr Richards said a 'landmark' building was needed at that 'gateway' to the development.
He said: 'Norwich has a lot of Holiday Inn type hotels, but it doesn't have a warehouse aesthetic type hotel and I think Norwich could support that. It could be somewhere where people visiting those living in the quarter come to stay and would be a fitting landmark building.'
Next to the hotel would be a 150-space multi-storey car park, complete with automated 'stackers' - mechanised platforms which park cars.
Mr Richards said the aim was to make the development as car free as possible and people living there might have to pay an annual fee for a space.
In February, the site was visited by Prince Charles. The proposed redevelopment is part of a project from the Prince's Foundation for Building Community, which he founded 25 years ago.
Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton and a member of the planning committee, said it was a 'very interesting and exciting' proposal.
If permission is granted, the scheme would be completed in phases, which could take up to four years.
• What's your view on what is being proposed for St Mary's Works and St George's Works? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email firstname.lastname@example.org