Norwich city centre office could be turned into flats for nearly 615 students

St Crispins House has been put up for sale. Picture: Mike page

St Crispins House has been put up for sale. Picture: Mike page - Credit: Archant

The number of students living in Norwich city centre could be swelled by more than 600, after a bid was lodged to turn offices into student flats.

St Crispin's House, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

St Crispin's House, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams - Credit: Archant

The past few months have seen a surge in the number of applications to convert buildings or to build new ones specifically for use by students.

With the University of East Anglia, Norwich University of the Arts and City College Norwich, there is high demand for accommodation.

And the latest application seeks to turn the 1970s office St Crispin's House, at the end of Duke Street, into flats for 614 students.

Permission to convert and extend the existing office building is being sought from Norwich City Council by Tyburn Lothian No3.

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The building, which dates back to the 1970s and housed The Stationery Office, currently varies in height from three to six storeys.

The new design would see the highest sections reaching to eight storeys.

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Documents lodged with City Hall on behalf of the applicants state: 'Technology advances and changing working practices mean there is no longer the same demand for such large offices by a single operator.

'The current owners therefore let the building to a number of smaller businesses.

'However this demand is proving relatively poor and there is vacant space within the building.

'Substantial investment is required to upgrade the building but, even then, the demand is unlikely to justify the expenditure.

'The building is therefore ceasing to be viable as office accommodation.

'The owners have identified a demand for student housing and therefore commissioned a feasibility study in July 2016 to establish the suitability of the building for this purpose and also the potential to extend the accommodation.'

The new flats would be reached off Duke Street, via the back of the building, with a secondary entrance proposed for St George's Street.

The applicants say the design would 'enhance and positively contribute' to the city conservation area and the scheme would bring many benefits.

A decision on whether to grant permission will be made by the city council in due course.

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