Further concerns over Anglia Square as tower in London gets go-ahead

PUBLISHED: 11:47 07 July 2020 | UPDATED: 16:15 07 July 2020

A 20-storey tower is part of the mooted revamp of Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes

A 20-storey tower is part of the mooted revamp of Anglia Square. Photo: Weston Homes

Weston Homes

Campaigners against the £271m revamp of Norwich’s Anglia Square have raised further concerns, following a controversial decision to approve a 17-storey London tower block.

The Anglia Square proposals, by Columbia Threadneedle and Weston Homes, include 1,200 new homes in a 20-storey tower, a hotel, cinema, car parks and new shops.

Plans were approved by Norwich City Council in December 2018.

But at the request of opponents concerned over its impact on the heritage of Norwich the matter was called in by the government - triggering a four-week planning inquiry.

Planning inspector Dave Prentis has submitted a recommendation on whether or not the scheme should go ahead, but the final decision rests with communities secretary Robert Jenrick.

Mr Jenrick has been at the centre of controversy over his granting of approval - against the inspector’s advice - for the 1,500-home Westferry Printworks scheme in London, although that was subsequently quashed as “unlawful” due to “apparent bias.”

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Mr Jenrick this week went with an inspector’s recommendation to approve a 17-storey tower block at Notting Hill Gate in Kensington.

He agreed that, while there would be harm to conservation areas and buildings such as Kensington Palace, that was not enough to outweigh the benefits of redeveloping the site.

In the wake of those cases, the Cathedral Magdalen and St Augustine’s Forum, has written to Mr Jenrick raising fresh concerns over the Anglia Square scheme.

They have asked for clarification on whether it is now national policy that all sites should be maximised in terms of density, irrespective of setting and whether there is a robust mechanism to identify and charge for extra pressure a significant increase in population will have on an area’s infrastructure.

Phillipa Clements. Picture: David HannantPhillipa Clements. Picture: David Hannant

Forum members Hugh McGlyn and Phillipa Clements also told Mr Jenrick: “We would very much like to understand better why the government is pushing for hyper density, when the lessons of the last three months are that communities and businesses are most resilient when at medium rise height and density so that a quality of life can be enjoyed locally, and people enabled to go about daily life on a healthy basis.”

Mr Jenrick is due to make a decision by September.

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