Government urged to keep out of decision over Norwich's Anglia Square revamp

PUBLISHED: 12:27 19 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:27 19 December 2018

The Anglia Square development from overhead. Pic: Weston Homes.

The Anglia Square development from overhead. Pic: Weston Homes.

Weston Homes

Council bosses have written to the communities secretary urging him not to call-in the decision to give the go-ahead for the multi-million pound revamp of Norwich's Anglia Square.

Communities secretary James Brokenshire. Pic: Rui Vieira/PA WireCommunities secretary James Brokenshire. Pic: Rui Vieira/PA Wire

The £271m scheme was granted permission by seven votes to five by members of Norwich City Council’s planning committee earlier this month, but it could yet be overturned if the secretary of state were to conclude the wrong decision was made.

While the city council said yes – after a meeting which lasted more than six hours – there is now a wait to see whether the decision will be called-in by the government.

National body Historic England has requested that it is, which could trigger a planning inquiry and lead to the final decision being made by communities secretary James Brokenshire.

Mr Brokenshire has placed an Article 31 Holding Direction on the application to give him time to assess the case and determine whether call in is warranted.

But the city council has written to Mr Brokenshire saying the decision should remain a local matter.

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: “We have written to the secretary of state for housing asking him not to call in the planning application for the redevelopment of Anglia Square and to allow the matter to be determined locally.”

Developer Weston Homes, with investment firm Columbia Threadneedle, had applied to demolish the shopping centre, along with the neighbouring Sovereign House.

The buildings would be replaced with new blocks, including 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks, a 200-bed hotel, a 20-storey tower block and a new home for Surrey Chapel.

Historic England had asked for the matter to be called-in because of the impact of the development on the city centre conservation area, important listed buildings and the character of Norwich as a whole.

Their request was backed by the city’s own civic society The Norwich Society.

Other objectors included the Council for British Archaeology and the Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral.

However, the city council had said while the scheme would cause ‘harm’, it was outweighed by the economic and social benefits it would bring.

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