Fresh bid lodged to turn former gallery in historic city street into housing

PUBLISHED: 14:59 17 August 2020 | UPDATED: 16:44 17 August 2020

34 Elm Hill, which could be turned entirely into a house. Picture: Archant

34 Elm Hill, which could be turned entirely into a house. Picture: Archant


A former gallery on one of Norwich’s most historic streets could be turned entirely into housing - three years after city planners warned against the move.

In 2017, Norfolk Land Developments Ltd was advised by planners at Norwich City Council that an application to convert 34 Elm Hill for residential use only would be unlikely to succeed.

As a result, works were instead carried out to modernise parts of the Grade II listed building for living purposes and the property marketed with the intention of the ground floor continuing to be used for retail use.

However, three years on and the developer has now lodged a bid for the whole building to be used for housing, with agents representing it saying it had been unable to attract interest to use it for retail.

Papers prepared by Brown and Co say: “Since the property was placed back on the market a number of viewings have been conducted, however there have been no financially viable offers”

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The works to the building, which were completed in March 2019, saw the upper floors refurbished to create a two bedroom apartment and a mezzanine office

However, the agent goes on to say that the works “had a detrimental impact upon the attractiveness of the building for retail uses”, adding that the lack of a “shop window” was putting potential tenants off.

On advising the applicants in 2017, city planners raised concerns that losing it as a retail unit would have a harmful impact on “the vitality and viability of the area and on the individual street”.

But the applicants argue that this had not proved to be the case while the building had been vacant.

The papers add: “It is considered that retail units along the street tend to have low vacancy rates, which suggests that it is maintaining its retail function and sufficient visitor footfall to sustain this. The lack of retail use at the site does not appear to have set a precedent, nor has it had a significant impact upon the area.”

The building has previously been home to the Crome Gallery, Broadland Framers and Arthur Brett and Sons Limited.

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