Norwich eyesore St Anne’s Wharf on brink of being sold
- Credit: copyright: Archant 2013
New life could be breathed into a derelict site which has stood empty in the heart of Norwich for more than a decade, after a deal was struck for it to be bought.
The St Anne's Wharf site, between King Street and the River Wensum, has been derelict since 1999. However, a concerted push to market the site last summer has paid off, with Norwich-based Savills announcing that contracts have been exchanged and the sale is due to go through in November.
The identity of the company –plus the price tag – have yet to be disclosed, but further details of what is planned for the site are likely to emerge once the deal is done.
lan Cole, development director at Savills, said: 'This historic site is one of the most important pieces of land in the Norwich development jigsaw and represents one of the keys to unlock the regeneration of the wider south city area.'
Savills was acting on behalf of Nigel Price and W John Kelly of Begbies Traynor, joint administrators of Anglia Projects & Developments Limited.
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The lack of development of the site, once home to Norwich Brewery, has long frustrated planners and community leaders, with a number of ideas for it having fallen through.
In the late 1990s, there were suggestions it could be turned into Norwich's version of Covent Garden, with restaurants, cafes and a piazza.
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Those plans never came to fruition and, in 2004, it looked like 437 apartments would be built there instead, after planning permission was granted.
But that scheme was scuppered when property developers City Living Developments (Norwich) and sister companies City Living Homes and Anglia Projects & Developments called in administrators in 2010.
Thorpe Hamlet councillor Lesley Grahame said: 'It's well placed for amenities and it would be part of the south city regeneration plan, so if there were a lot of people living there it would provide footfall for local shops and provide an attractive route from the train station to the city centre.'
The site extends to a little under five acres and incorporates the listed building on the corner of King Street and Mountergate known as Howard House.
The Norwich Society and the Norwich Preservation Trust have long campaigned for the building, now covered in scaffolding and plastic, to be safeguarded.
Vicky Manthorpe, of the Norwich Society, said: 'This is a hugely important to that area. It's a disgrace the way it has suffered and I would expect it to be the first thing that they need to broach in terms of their relationship with the local community, and various groups who have been worried about it for a long time.'
• What do you hope happens at St Anne's Wharf? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.