New plans for 90-bed 'landmark' hotel in Norwich revealed

Chamberlain House

Plans for Chamberlain House. This image shows the back of the building in Pottergate. - Credit: AWW

Fresh plans have been unveiled for a multi-million pound, 90-bed "landmark" hotel in Norwich city centre, after a previous scheme was scrapped.

New proposals to create the hotel, in Chamberlain House in Guildhall Hill - home to Tesco Metro - have been drawn up and shared with city councillors.

Tesco Metro on Guildhall Hill, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Tesco Metro on Guildhall Hill, Norwich. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The new plans for the Victorian building would see empty offices above the Tesco store turned into hotel rooms, with an extension built where the superstore's loading yard is.

The Tesco store would remain, as would the shops in neighbouring Dove Street, while new retail units would be created at the back.

A previous scheme had been withdrawn, after the plans triggered concerns it was out of keeping with a conservation area and controversy over a move to chop down a tree in Pottergate.

John Walker of property consultants Ward Hill Walker, said: “Following very constructive discussions with city planners, we decided to withdraw that application to focus on evolving our plans to take into account their observations and feedback.

“We submitted an initial pre-application in November last year to establish the key principles of the development.

"This was followed by an addendum submitted to the planning officers in December, and plans were presented to the city’s pre-planning committee today (Thursday, February 11)."

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A new professional team, including planning consultants Williams Gallagher and architects AWW were appointed to develop the new plans.

Kate Marrinan, from AWW, said the new plans would retain the maple tree in Pottergate.

Chamberlain House

Plans for Chamberlain House, as seen from Pottergate. - Credit: AWW

And she said features of the building, including diamond shapes on the roof, were designed to complement nearby buildings, including the Guildhall.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat councillor for Eaton and Sandra Bogelein, leader of the Green group, questioned where deliveries to the hotel and Tesco would take place once the hotel extension replaces the loading bay.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Sonya Duncan.

Judith Lubbock, Liberal Democrat city councillor for Eaton. Pic: Sonya Duncan. - Credit: Sonya Duncan

Council officers said the plans would include an inset parking bay for those to happen.

A website at www.chamberlainhouse.co.uk is being launched on Monday to display the plans and give members of the public and local businesses a chance to comment before the planning application is lodged with City Hall.

Chamberlain House, Dove Street. Pic: Archant

Chamberlain House, Dove Street. Pic: Archant

Mr Walker said: “We do hope that local residents and businesses will take the opportunity to study the proposals and send their feedback.

"The 120-year old building will be brought into use to create a landmark hotel facility with superb views of Norwich. It will bring thousands of visitors right into the city centre, whilst also creating at least 28 new jobs.

"Following our meeting with city planners, we expect to submit a planning application in March.”

History of Chamberlain House

Despite the different spelling, the building was once home to the department store Chamberlins - the most celebrated store in the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

That store was founded by Henry Chamberlin after he arrived in Norwich from Edinburgh in 1815.

It opened the following year, joined by his son Robert and the store expanded along Dove Street, with 120 members of staff.

On the death of Robert in 1876, his son George, a three time Mayor of Norwich, became general manager.

By the end of the nineteenth century, business was booming and the store had departments devoted to millinery, furnishings, carpets and clothing.

Chamberlins manufactured many of the items they sold and in Botolph Street, Norwich, a factory, employing another 800 staff, manufactured their fashion products.

In 1898, a fire destroyed the original store and today’s building was built.

The store continued to trade in the 1930s and 1940s until the business was taken over in the 1950s by Marshall & Snelgrove, who in turn were later purchased by Debenhams, before it became home to Tesco.