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Boost for £9m hospital revamp hope after flooding fears recede

PUBLISHED: 13:50 26 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:55 26 January 2019

How the revamped Norwich Community Hospital site could look. Pic: GL Hearn.

How the revamped Norwich Community Hospital site could look. Pic: GL Hearn.

GL Hearn

A £9m revamp of a Norwich hospital has cleared a significant potential hurdle, after council bosses said they would withdraw their flooding-related objection to the proposals.

Norfolk Community Health and Care Trust deputy chief executive Paul Cracknell. Photo: NCHCNorfolk Community Health and Care Trust deputy chief executive Paul Cracknell. Photo: NCHC

Health bosses have lodged plans which would see the transformation of the Norwich Community Hospital site, off Bowthorpe Road, in the west of the city.

The existing building would be knocked down and replaced with a five-storey hospital, alongside a new care home, care units and worker accommodation.

However, Norfolk County Council, as the local flood authority had lodged a holding objection to the proposal because of concerns over flooding at the site.

Anglia Water had also written to the council raisiing its concerns and saying a drainage strategy was needed to prevent the “unacceptable risk of flooding downstream”.

Norwich Community Hospital Plans. Illustrative view looking north from Bowthorpe Road towards the new hospital. Photo: GL HearnNorwich Community Hospital Plans. Illustrative view looking north from Bowthorpe Road towards the new hospital. Photo: GL Hearn

However, Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust commissioned further testing and modelling of the site, which seems to have satisfied the officers at County Hall.

The county council has signalled it will remove its objection, so long as certain conditions are attached if the scheme does get approval from Norwich City Council.

Paul Cracknell, deputy chief executive at Norfolk Community Health and Care NHS Trust said: “We are pleased to note the objection has been removed and we look forward to the decision on our outline planning application at a committee in the near future.

“If approved, the redevelopment of our site will enable us to develop a new health campus that will be fit for purpose, which will include a modern and purpose-built community hospital, as well as a number of associated new health and care facilities.”

Norwich Community Hospital in Bowthorpe Road. 
PHOTO: Nick ButcherNorwich Community Hospital in Bowthorpe Road. PHOTO: Nick Butcher

As previously reported, if permission is granted, then Norfolk County Council’s historic environment service wants to see a programme of archaeological mitigation, including digging of trial trenches.

That is because a Romano-British burial ground was discovered at the site back in 1861, while a Roman cremation urn was found by workmen in 1980 and the discovery of further remains cannot be discounted.

Norwich City Council’s planning committee will make a decision in due course.

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