Revamp plans for Norwich’s Anglia Square to be lodged within weeks after £12m boost
- Credit: Weston Homes and Columbia Thread
Plans for the revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square will be lodged within weeks, following a £12m funding boost seen as key to unlocking the development.
Norwich City Council was succesful in a bid for money to help get the scheme off the ground - although a similar bid to kick start the Deal Ground development on the edge of the city was not successful.
Projects in Cringleford and Thetford have also been handed multi-million boosts to get homes built.
At Anglia Square, council bosses hope the money will help cover the demolition of the existing buildings and the redevelopment, making it more viable for a higher proportion of the 1,350 homes proposed as part of the square's transformation to be affordable.
Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle have been drawing up plans which would see a revamp for the square. The current shopping complex would be demolished, with homes built above new shops and restaurants.
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There would be a new multi-storey car park, a replacement cinema at ground level and - in one of the most contentious elements of the plans - a 25-storey tower block.
Bob Weston, chairman of Weston Homes, said: 'We are delighted with the government's pledge to invest £12m at Anglia Square. We have worked hard over the past two years on this ambitious scheme and have held two public consultations. We are now moving ahead and will be putting forward a detailed planning application for the end of February.'
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Mike Stonard, the city council's cabinet member for sustainable and inclusive growth, said evidence had suggested the comprehensive redevelopment of Anglia Square would not happen without the financial support.
He said: 'We welcome the news about the grant for Anglia Square, but it's important to be aware that while this increases the chances of the scheme being delivered, it doesn't guarantee it. There is still further detail to be resolved about the precise nature of the scheme.'
The Magdalen Street area and Anglia Square Traders Association is keen to see the development happy, with James Wade, the group's deputy chair, describing it as 'the anchor to our area'.
But there have been concerns expressed around the scheme. At the weekend, a 'community vision' event was held, with the Norfolk Association of Architects joining the St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association, Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine's Neighbourhood Forum Steering Group and The Norwich Society.
Gail Mayhew, chair of the Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine's Neighbourhood Forum said she was 'delighted' the council had secure the money - but said she hoped it would help to improve the proposals.
She said she wanted the final scheme to better meet the 'wider regeneration aspirations of the area' and to 'temper' some of what has previously been put forward.
She said: 'At £12m, this is the biggest award of Housing Infrastructure funding in Norfolk, let's make this public money really work hard for the city, not just 1,000 new households.'
The Norwich Over The Water group, which has long campaigned to fight for the area near Anglia Square had tabled a string of concerns - and ideas - around the development.
The group is worried that there will not be enough car parking when the complex is redeveloped - and wants to see an underground car park created. They also want a more imaginative approach to the tower.
Anglia Square was one of 133 council-led projects across the country yesterday selected as winning bids for a share of £866m government cash from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.
While the city council's bid for money at Anglia Square was successful, the government said no to cash for the Deal Ground, near Trowse.
In 2013, Serruys Property Company was given outline permission for up to 670 homes at that site, but work has yet to start on the £110m scheme on the biggest undeveloped brownfield site in the city.
The council had hoped government cash could help cover the cost of the access roads to the site, so the developer would be able to get on and build the homes.
But that bid was rejected and Mr Stonard said: 'We're disappointed that the bid for the Deal Ground wasn't successful and will continue to look for other options about how we can help to develop the site.'
£5.5m will speed up building of homes on edge of Norwich
A sum of £5.5m has been awarded to speed up development on land on the edge of Norwich.
The council was awarded the money for roads on the land to the south of the A11 at Cringleford, opposite the Round House Park development.
There is permission for more than 1,000 homes on the site, but the idea is, that, by getting the road infrastructure in place it will enable earlier sale of small parcels of land to small and medium developers.
That will enable homes to be built, close to the likes of Norwich Research Park, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.
John Fuller, leader of South Norfolk Council, said: 'We can turn fields into investable opportunities.
'The government is holding councils to account for delivering houses which have got permission, but the council cannot do that alone, so this will help us get the infrastructure in place.'
Nearly £10m for 5,000 home scheme in Thetford
The delivery of a 5,000 home development in Thetford will be accelerated after Breckland Council received a £9.9m funding boost.
The money was given by the government for the upfront reinforcement of power supplies and drinkable water for the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension.
Situated to the north of the town, the 771 hectare development - known as KingsFleet - will also include three primary schools, employment land, open spaces and commercial centres.
Hopkins Homes will deliver the first phase of KingsFleet which will include 343 homes and a neighbourhood centre.
South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said: 'This is great news for Thetford, boosting the local economy and driving forward this exciting development for the town.
'I supported the council's bid and I am delighted the Secretary of State listened to the case made by me and councillors.'