Inspector will decide if council was wrong to say no to flats on former pub site
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The question of whether new flats can be built on the former site of a Norwich pub is in the hands of a planning inspector.
The Shoemaker pub, in Earlham West Centre, closed in 2005 and was eventually demolished in 2012.
After years of the site becoming a magnet for vandalism and fly-tipping, Norwich City Council agreed, four years ago, to grant Pulham Market-based Manorlake Properties permission to build student flats on the site.
The developer built those flats, with a total of 70 bedrooms for students.
But on another part of the site, they sought permission from City Hall for a further 18 flats, with 23 bedrooms, along with a refuse compound.
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But, in September last year, planning officers at City Hall used their powers to refuse to grant permission for that part of the scheme.
Among the reasons for rejection were that: at four storeys, the height of the building was not acceptable; some of the rooms did not comply with minimum space standards and that the development made no provision for affordable housing either on-site, or by making a financial contribution to provide it elsewhere.
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The applicants objected and a planning inspector is now considering the appeal, via written representations.
The developer and the council are at odds over the classification of the development.
Student halls of residence are known as C2 use, but the council sees what is proposed at the Enfield Road site as C3 development - which has certain minimum space requirements and a requirement for affordable housing provision.
In its letter to the planning inspectorate, the city council urges the inspector to dismiss the appeal, saying: "The form of development proposed is materially different to that provided in the existing development and to student accommodation more generally."
But, in their submission, the developers insist the development should not be classed as C3 and the second phase of the development should be treated no differently to the first phase.
They say it would "provide satisfactory living conditions" for the proposed occupants.
The planning inspector will make a decision over the scheme in due course.