New tower blocks at Anglia Square could “compromise” Norwich Airport radar system

Anglia Square. Picture: Simon Finlay

Anglia Square. Picture: Simon Finlay - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

Norwich International Airport is warning any high rise tower blocks that could emerge from the new Anglia Square development could 'compromise' their new radar system.

Aerial view of Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page

Aerial view of Norwich Airport. Picture: Mike Page - Credit: Mike Page

A 25-storey tower block is among proposals being put forward as part of a widespread consultation into a fresh vision for the shopping district.

But staff at the airport in Hellesdon have raised concerns as developers Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle are exploring detailed new plans, including up to 1,350 homes.

As part of an environmental impact assessment scoping opinion request to Norwich City Council, representatives of the developers put forward the potential of a 25-storey tower block, surrounded by further blocks of between 10 and 14 stories.

But as part of the ongoing consultation, the airport has expressed concern over the impact of the structures on a new primary surveillance radar.

Mark Burch, safeguarding co-ordinator for Norwich Airport Ltd, wrote in an email to the planning department that certain heights would be 'unacceptable'.

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'I note that the environmental study states that buildings up to 10-14 stories will be part of the plan with a possible tower building possibly up to 25 stories high,' he said. 'With regard to safeguarding at Norwich Airport Ltd any building above 45m above ground level will need to be safeguarded to ensure that the performance of the new primary surveillance radar is not compromised.'

He added careful work would have to take place to limit the maximum building heights to ensure they do not interfere with approaching flight paths from planes and navigation tools.

Any building that reached above 95m from sea level, while unlikely, would be 'unacceptable', he said.

Iceni Projects, on behalf of Weston Homes, say in the EIA scoping request the proposals 'are currently in the process of being refined', but expect all the existing buildings to be torn down, with the possible exception of Gildengate House.

They go on to say: 'It should be noted that the amount of development identified for each block accounts for an element of flexibility in both commercial and residential. This is intentionally factored in to allow flexibility over the precise height and footprint of buildings.'