Tesco in talks over superstore in Norwich’s Anglia Square

Anglia Square in Norwich. Tesco are in talks over having a store in the revamped shopping centre.

Anglia Square in Norwich. Tesco are in talks over having a store in the revamped shopping centre. - Credit: Archant © 2008

Tesco are locked in talks over becoming the flagship store in the long-awaited revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square, it can be revealed today.

A major revamp of Anglia Square has been in the pipeline for years, but progress on the facelift has been hampered by the recession.

The plans include 174 new homes, a public square, new shops, restaurants, cafes and a healthcare centre, while Gildengate House, the office block over the entrance to the car park, will be updated to provide modern offices.

The proposal also includes a 7,792 square metre foodstore, supported by 507 car park spaces, and it has emerged that Tesco is in negotiations to take on that store.

The store would sit above basement and ground floor car parking levels to the west of Anglia Square. In documents lodged with the city council in support of the planning application, the foodstore was described as 'an integral part of the regeneration proposals'.

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Development managers Centenary Ashcroft secured permission, on behalf of Anglia Square Partnerships Ltd, for the multi-million pound regeneration of the 1960s complex in 2008, but revised plans were lodged with Norwich City Council in 2011.

The council's planning committee agreed in June that year to give the head of planning, in consultation with the committee's chairman and vice chairman, powers to fine tune and approve the application.

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One of the particular sticking points was what is known as a section-106 agreement, which covers contributions to public services made by the developer. That was signed in March this year.

And Isle of Man-based Integrated Capabilities, which is now acting on behalf of Anglia Square Partnerships Ltd, confirmed the future of the Anglia Square revamp was dependent on successful talks, including with Tesco.

Rob Cannell, a director at Integrated Capabilities, said: 'Discussions are on-going with Tesco and financial institutions to secure funding for the development which will ultimately dictate when the project will commence.'

While a spokesman for Tesco said he did not want to comment on the company's plans for Anglia Square, there has long been speculation that the superstore giant was interested in taking on the so-called 'anchor store'.

If Tesco does move into Anglia Square it would take the number of stores and superstores the company has in and around Norwich up to 19.

Mike Stonard, Norwich City Council's cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said he was keen to see new life breathed into Anglia Square.

He said: 'We are keen to do something with Anglia Square, of course. It is a difficult climate for developers at the moment.

'As with other sites in the city, it's important to get them to come forward, but it does have to be the right development.

'We would want to work together with developers who come up with viable schemes.'

Sovereign House – the former home of Her Majesty's Stationery Office in Norwich – is earmarked for demolition as part of the revamp of Anglia Square.

The city council has a strategy, known as the northern area action plan, for that part of Norwich, which will be used as a blueprint when determining planning applications in the area.

Work has also been done to create the St Augustine's gyratory scheme, which made a number of streets close to Anglia Square one-way.

Part of the reason for that work was to pave the way for when the square is finally redeveloped.

The square recently found itself thrust into the national spotlight when the premiere of the Alan Partridge film Alpha Papa was held in the Hollywood cinema, with the film's star Steve Coogan in attendance.

Campaigners had convinced the film's producers to hold the premiere in the home of the fictional broadcaster, arguing it should get its first screening in Anglia Square, not Leicester Square.

• Would you be pleased to see Tesco open a store in Anglia Square? Write to Norwich Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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