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Anglia Square decision should rest with all city councillors, say Liberal Democrats

A CGI image showing what Anglia Square could look like at night. Picture: Weston Homes

A CGI image showing what Anglia Square could look like at night. Picture: Weston Homes

Weston Homes

A call has been made for a decision over the revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square to be made by all city councillors.

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Stuart McPherson.James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group at Norwich City Council. Pic: Stuart McPherson.

The Liberal Democrat group will, next week, ask Norwich City Council to pass a motion for all 39 councillors to make the decision, rather than only the 13 who sit on the planning applications committee.

However, the city council leader has said he will oppose such a move, saying the planning committee is where the decision should be made.

Housebuilder Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, are seeking permission for the transformation of the shopping complex.

It would include up to 1,250 new homes, a 25-storey tower, dozens of shops, a 200-bed hotel, 600-space car park and pedestrianised areas.

Norwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian BurtNorwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian Burt

But the plans have been controversial, with more than 370 comments received. Of more than 350 public comments, 300 objected and 41 supported the scheme.

Historic England, which branded the development “alien and inappropriate” has signalled it will ask for the secretary of state to call-in the application if officers recommend it for approval.

And James Wright, leader of the Lib Dems at City Hall, himself a member of the planning committee, says the scale of public interest means it should be decided by full council.

He said: “Anglia Square is a significant development for our city, a once in a generation decision for the council, and it is vital that all councillors are fully involved.

“The Anglia Square application will potentially impact on the skyline of our city for decades to come, and with Historic England threatening a ‘call-in’ it has never been more important for all councillors to have their say.”

But Alan Waters, Labour leader at City Hall, said the matter should rest with the planning committee. He said: “The planning committee has, over the years, dealt with large and complex developments and Anglia Square is no different.”

He said, if the decision did rest with full council, then, to avoid pre-determination, none of the councillors would be able to discuss the issue with their constituents or to represent their views.

He said: “What that would lead to is people not being able to talk to their councillors about this case.”

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