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Five star hotel or ‘game changing’ offices could be built on Norwich city centre car park

PUBLISHED: 10:25 25 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:49 26 November 2017

The car park at the back of City Hall. Photo: Nadene Chandler

The car park at the back of City Hall. Photo: Nadene Chandler

Archant

A five star hotel or a ‘game changing’ new office development could be built on the car park at the back of Norwich City Council’s offices.

And bosses at Norwich City Council hope whatever is built on a prime piece of city centre land will be an iconic building comparable to the Grade II* listed City Hall and The Forum nearby.

The city council has been promoting the site, including at international property events and are confident that a developer will come forward.

Dave Moorcroft, head of service regeneration and development at Norwich City Council, said: “It’s a prime location in the centre of the city and sits within a group of iconic buildings.

“It’s the last remaining site in that complex and we haven’t had anything developed on a site of that type since The Forum with the Millennium Library.

“Whatever happens there could be a game changer. We want to make sure whatever is built there is right for this site.”

Mr Moorcroft said the council would be keen to see high quality offices built.

It is understood any scheme would need to work around the need for the police to have a base for their Bethel Street vehicles, possibly by incorporating them into an underground car park, with the development on top.

There has recently been a surge in student accommodation in the city centre, with offices being converted, but Mr Moorcroft said that was not what was sought on the car park site.

He said the city could be nearing a “tipping point” of not being able to offer top quality offices to companies keen to be based in the centre of Norwich.

But if that is not viable, then a hotel development could be considered, with the council hoping that would be five star rated.

The car park used to be two-tiered and used by city council staff. But in 2003, it emerged that cracks had appeared on its surface.

In 2007 the council agreed a £500,000 budget for “urgent and extensive” work, which led to the removal of the top tier, although Norfolk police have continued to use the lower section.

A previous suggestion for the car park was to build an extension to City Hall on it, an idea which was originally mooted in the 1930s, but never built. Proposals for a £30m concert hall on the site, with a glass walkway linking the venue to the top of City Hall were put forward by the Great Eastern Art Centre Trust. But that plan was ruled out by council leaders.

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