What lies beneath this former Norfolk care home?

PUBLISHED: 17:58 11 June 2019 | UPDATED: 17:58 11 June 2019

Elaine Herbert House in Norwich is to be demolished. Picture: Archant library

Elaine Herbert House in Norwich is to be demolished. Picture: Archant library

Archant Library

Relics from the city’s Anglo Saxon past may be unearthed if plans to demolish a former care home get the go-ahead.

Plans to replace former care home Elaine Herbert House in Norwich's Great Hospital site with 19 new sheltered housing units go before Norwich City Council this week, with officers recommending it for approval.

But should the scheme get the go-ahead, County Hall is keen for work to be done to discover what lies beneath the site before any work can be done.

James Albone, acting leader of Norfolk County Council's historic environment team, believes the site - which dates back to the 13th century - could unlock secrets of an even deeper history.

In his consultation response, he said: "Previous archaeological investigations within the wider hospital site have identified evidence of late Anglo-Saxon and early medieval activity predating the establishment of the hospital itself.

"We consider that there is a high potential for heritage assets with archaeological interest relating to the hospital and pre-hospital activity."

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However, given that the building proposed for demolition is just one of many on the site, it would not be possible for any investigations to be held ahead of any decision over the scheme.

Instead, Dr Albone is proposing conditions be added to any approval requiring further investigation into the site be carried out.

The Great Hospital site, on Bishopgate, was built in the mid 1200s, however, Elaine Herbert House itself was not built until centuries later - in the 1960s, replacing the old sick ward.

Designed by prominent local architect Anthony Rossi, it served as a care home for most of its existence, but has been disused since 2013.

The proposals will see the building demolished and a new sheltered housing building erected, consisting of 19 units.

In her report to the planning committee, case officer Joy Brown said: "The existing Elaine Herbert House has been unused since 2013 and is no longer suitable for the type of housing and care offered by the Great Hospital, and therefore its replacement with more fit for purpose accommodation is supported."

The committee will consider the application on Thursday.

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