‘Fiasco’ claim as Anglia Square revamp decision delayed without explanation
PUBLISHED: 14:40 08 September 2020 | UPDATED: 14:40 08 September 2020
Critics and supporters of the £271m revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square have hit out at the failure of the government to make a decision over the future of the scheme - or to explain why one has not been issued.
Local government secretary Robert Jenrick was supposed to issue his decision on one of the most contentious – and largest – developments in Norwich for decades on Monday.
Plans for the shopping centre, lodged by Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes, were approved by Norwich City Council’s planning committee in 2018 but were called-in by the government after a request by opponents.
The plans include more than 1,200 new homes, including within a 20-storey tower, a hotel, cinema, car parks and new shops.
Following a public inquiry earlier this year, a planning inspector made a recommendation to Mr Jenrick - in whose hands the final say on the scheme rests - in June, with a date of September 7 or his decision to be published.
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But Mr Jenrick’s government department, the Ministry of Housing Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), announced “regrettably”, he would not be publishing his decision yet. They apologised but gave no reason for the hold-up.
Alan Waters, Norwich City Council leader, said: “It is very disappointing news that this has been delayed. Anglia Square is an important site and we really hope a decision will be announced soon.”
Historic England, SAVE Britain’s Heritage, the Norwich Society, the Norwich Cycling Campaign, and the Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine’s Forum were among objectors.
Richard Bearman, from the Norwich Cycling Campaign, branded the delay a “fiasco” and it was “unacceptable” that no reason had been given.
The deadline was not legally binding and the secretary of state is able to extend it, but the government generally aims to make decisions within three months of reports being submitted.
The EDP contacted the MHCLG to ask for an explanation over why a decision had not been made. A spokesman said: “The Anglia Square application remains under active consideration. A decision will be made in due course, it would not be appropriate to comment further at this stage.”
Weston Homes was contacted for comment, but has yet to respond.
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