Critics of £271m Anglia Square revamp to hold public meeting

PUBLISHED: 06:30 14 January 2020 | UPDATED: 14:31 14 January 2020

The plans for Anglia Square include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston Homes

The plans for Anglia Square include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston Homes

Weston Homes

Critics of the controversial revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square will outline why they do not want the scheme to go ahead at a public meeting.

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLYAnglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Weston Homes was granted permission by Norwich City Council's planning committee last year to transform Anglia Square in a £271m project.

Permission was granted for 1,234 new homes, including within a 20-storey tower, a leisure quarter with a cinema and a 200-bed hotel.

But, amid objections, including from Historic England, concerned about the impact on historic buildings such as the cathedral, it was called-in by the government.

That triggered a planning inquiry, which starts on January 28 and will last for three weeks.

Afterwards, the inspector will make a recommendation on whether it should go ahead or not. The secretary of state can follow that recommendation, or ignore it.

However, at a public meeting today, opponents will outline why they do not want the scheme to get the green light.

Speakers from the Norwich Society, SAVE Britain's Heritage, Historic England and the Cathedral Magdalen Street and St Augustine's Forum will be among those explaining why they are against the plans.

Henrietta Billings, director of SAVE Britain's Heritage, said: "We are not against its redevelopment, but this city deserves better.

"We believe the square can be redeveloped in a much more sympathetic way with low-rise streets and squares, similar in scale to Goldsmith Street which was awarded the prestigious Stirling Prize."

The public meeting will be held at The Forum in Norwich from 5.30pm, but is fully booked.

Paul Burall, from the Norwich Society, said: "We are supporting this to explain to the public the devastating effect that the proposed development would have on the surrounding area and the importance of the public inquiry."

At the inquiry, Weston Homes and Anglia Square owners Columbia Threadneedle intend to present evidence the proposal does not "cause harm" to heritage assets.

Meanwhile, the fate of millions crucial to the development, should become clearer this week.

The council had been told it would get £12.2m of government money for infrastructure for the development, but feared the inquiry would mean the deadline for spending it would be missed.

However, the government has said the cash, now increased to £15m, would still be available if the scheme is given permission.

The council's Labour-controlled cabinet is due to agree a contract with Homes England on Wednesday.

A decision was due to be made last month, but put off due to the general election.

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