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Loss of privacy and crime concerns in bid to turn Mercy nightclub into flats

PUBLISHED: 16:34 04 November 2019 | UPDATED: 16:34 04 November 2019

An illustration of what the plans for the former Mercy nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road, could look like. Photo: SMG Architects/Estateducation

An illustration of what the plans for the former Mercy nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road, could look like. Photo: SMG Architects/Estateducation

Archant

A loss of privacy and potential for crime have been raised as concerns in a major scheme to transform a former nightclub into housing.

The former Mercy nightclub in Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.The former Mercy nightclub in Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

At the start of August, a bid was lodged to add two floors to the former Mercy nightclub and turn it into 49 homes with a gym, cinema room and pool table room, with shared office space and coffee shop on the ground floor.

The plans, lodged by applicant and developer Estateducation, are yet to be decided, with Norwich City Council officers still to make a recommendation. The former nightclub, at 82 to 96 Prince of Wales Road, closed in early 2018.

While a new chapter for the building has been welcomed widely, the details of the scheme have prompted concerns, including from people living on streets nearby.

Some on St Faiths Lane and Cathedral Street said the additional floors could reduce privacy in their gardens and block sunlight.

An illustration of what the plans for the former Mercy nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road, could look like. Photo: SMG Architects/EstateducationAn illustration of what the plans for the former Mercy nightclub, on Prince of Wales Road, could look like. Photo: SMG Architects/Estateducation

One person said: "The existing building blocks out light to our residence for approximately six months of the year already. By adding on two additional floors, this will completely remove the sunlight into our garden for the summer months when we wish to use and enjoy the outdoor space."

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But a spokesperson for Estateducation said tweaks had been made and revisions were with planning officers. They said a daylight and sunlight report shows there would be no potential losses with the penthouses, which are set back, rather than looming over the existing building line.

Meanwhile, social enterprise The Feed, which is based nearby and trains people who have faced homelessness and addiction, among others, also raised concern over the competition from the proposed coffee shop, which they said could affect their work.

Richard Divey, environmental protection officer at Norwich City Council, said acoustic measures in the building were strong, but raised concerns that the attached nightclub building, formerly Bished, would be a "difficult noise issue to control".

Norfolk County Council said library provision would need to be funded through the plans, with it likely to "have an impact on the library service".

And Norfolk police said they welcomed the mix of commercial and residential use, but said security would need to be ensured in several areas, including the undercroft car park. They said they could not support proposed outdoor seating areas on Prince of Wales Road, which they said could encourage crime and anti-social behaviour.

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