Neighbours in fresh fight as appeal starts over city centre car park student flats bid
Neighbours trying to stop student flats being built near their homes have accused developers of showing no regard for democratic processes - after a fresh appeal began.
Plans for more than 280 student flats on the Sentinel House car park, in Norwich's Surrey Street, were turned down by city councillors in 2017.
People in nearby Carlton Terrace had said the scheme for the car park, once used for Aviva workers at Sentinel House, would dwarf and overshadow their homes.
Although city councillors rejected the scheme, developers SYC Student Accommodation Ltd appealed.
A planning inspector dismissed that appeal, but not because of the impact on people in Carlton Terrace. He dismissed it because of the impact on people living in Sentinel House itself, which has been redeveloped as flats.
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While that appeal was ongoing, a revised application for the site was submitted to City Hall. The number of flats was reduced to 252 and some of the heights were cut, but city councillors last summer rejected that scheme too.
But the agents appealed against that refusal too and that appeal is now under way.
Rob McKenna, from the Carlton Residents Group, said: "The planning committee had heard arguments for and against the two planning applications, and voted to reject the schemes at both hearings.
"By continuing to attempt to gain planning permission in this way, Carlton Residents feel the developers show no regard for local democratic processes or community voices, and are also disrespecting the Norwich City Council planning committee."
Jane Crichton, associate planner at Lanpro, planning agents for the applicants, said the second application had been recommended for approval by City Hall officers, before councillors rejected it.
She said: "In the previous appeal decision the planning inspector did not agree with the council's reasons for refusal which related to impacts on Carlton Terrace and the scale and height of the building being inappropriate.
"He only raised a concern regarding the relationship with the neighbouring building. We consider that this has been fully addressed in the redesigned scheme which is why a second appeal has been submitted."