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GP fears Anglia Square revamp would ‘exclude’ people from Mile Cross

PUBLISHED: 17:50 06 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:38 07 February 2020

Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Anglia Square. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

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A GP has said the controversial revamp mooted for Anglia Square is disrespectful to the people who shop there.

Norwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Neil DidsburyNorwich South MP Clive Lewis. Picture: Neil Didsbury

Dr Alison Dow, from the Prospect Medical Centre in Mile Cross, told a planning inquiry she feared the £271m plans would lead to her patients being excluded from the new-look development.

She said: "I think it shows immense disrespect to Mile Cross residents and those in Catton Grove and Mancroft.

"It seems the proposed development will exclude my patients."

She said the square was a "go to" destination for the Mile Cross community, which they "know and trust"

She said: "It provides affordable shopping and a social hub."

Dr Dow feared the revamp would not offer the same sort of shopping experience.

The scheme includes more than 1,200 new homes, including in a 20-storey tower, plus a hotel, cinema, car parks and new shops.

But Dr Dow said only a small percentage of the homes would be affordable, so people from Mile Cross would be unlikely to end up living there.

Ian Gibson, former MP for Norwich North. Photo: Denise Bradley.Ian Gibson, former MP for Norwich North. Photo: Denise Bradley.

Green city councillor Denise Carlo also spoke against the scheme, including on heritage grounds - because of the harm it would cause on the historic city.

The plans were agreed by Norwich City Council in 2018.

But the planning inquiry was triggered after Historic England and other opponents asked for a government call-in.

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The heritage organisation had objected due to the massing and height of the revamp - and its impact on the historic city skyscape, including Norwich Cathedral.

MORE: Historic England's 'sky garden' vision for Anglia Square

A statement from Norwich South MP Clive Lewis was read out, in which he said the city "was one we must not ruin by building an intrusive, characterless development. One that looks and feels more about financial return to corporate interest than it is about building quality, sustainable, affordable homes and commercial zones, that fit organically into the unique fabric of this city and community".

Former Labour city councillor Hugo Malik, who voted against the scheme when he was a planning committee member, told the inquiry the scheme was more suited to the science fiction film Blade Runner than to an historic city.

He said it was an "appalling application".

Former Labour city councillor Hugo Malik. Pic: SubmiitedFormer Labour city councillor Hugo Malik. Pic: Submiited

He added that his planning committee colleagues usually considered a bungalow extension in Eaton with "forensic care".

But he said, at the meeting where permission was granted, by seven votes to five, they had "hardly glanced" at the officers' report, which Mr Malik said was contradictory and misleading.

Former Norwich North Labour MP Ian Gibson said people in the north of the city had long missed out on investment compared to the south.

He said something needed to be built to reflect the desires and wishes of the community in the north of the city - but this scheme does not do that.

The scheme includes plans for a 20-storey tower in Anglia Sqaure. Photo: Weston HomesThe scheme includes plans for a 20-storey tower in Anglia Sqaure. Photo: Weston Homes

Paul Scruton, from the Norwich Over The Water Society, said, following the closure of the Hollywood Cinema, the plans for a replacement cinema should be ditched in favour of an opera house.

Green city councillor Denise Carlo also spoke against the scheme, including on heritage grounds.

The Norfolk Gardens Trust has also objected. Treasurer and planning representative Peter Woodrow said they were concerned about the impact on the settings of Catton Hall Park, Waterloo Park and the setting from Mousehold Heath snd Kett's Heights.

Applicants Columbia Threadneedle/Weston Homes have said it will regenerate the area and provide housing.

After planning inspector Dave Prentis has heard the inquiry's evidence, he will come up with a recommendation for the secretary of state, who will ultimately decide if the Anglia Square revamp should go ahead or not.

MORE: Anglia Square a 'dismal experience' says architect behind revamp


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