Controversial Anglia Square revamp recommended for go-ahead by Norwich City Council officers
PUBLISHED: 06:43 29 November 2018 | UPDATED: 10:02 29 November 2018
The controversial £271m proposal to revamp Norwich's Anglia Square has been recommended for approval.
The plans for the shopping complex, including a 20-storey tower, will come before Norwich City Council’s planning committee on Thursday, December 6.
And officers at City Hall are saying they believe the committee should grant approval.
Their recommendation was revealed in the agenda for the meeting, in which officers state: “In the final analysis the planning merits of the proposed scheme are considered to be finely balanced.
“The scheme has divided opinion and it is the officer view that either a decision to approve or refuse the scheme could rationally be justified depending on the weight ascribed to particular considerations.”
But council officers conclude, although the development and the tower would cause harm, a “compelling case” had been made for it, with “economic and social benefits” for the city. Hence, they are recommending approval.
Developer Weston Homes, with investment firm Columbia Threadneedle, wants to demolish the shopping centre, along with the neighbouring Sovereign House.
The buildings would be replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, the tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.
The city council has received 939 comments on the original proposals and the revised plans. Of that number, 767 objected and 120 supported it.
There have been two petitions, from Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine’s Neighbourhood Forum and St Augustine’s Community Together Residents’ Association, with 554 and 609 signatures.
The Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral, the Norwich Society and Castle Mall are among objectors.
And Historic England has warned the three large blocks of up to 12 storeys and one 20-storey tower would have an “extensive and severe impact on the extraordinary historic character of Norwich”.
The national body has said, if the city council is minded to approve the scheme, they will seek to get the decision “called in”, so the final decision rests with the secretary of state for housing, currently James Brokenshire.