Millions of pounds for Anglia Square revamp is hanging in the balance

PUBLISHED: 06:30 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:53 17 December 2019

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2018

The fate of millions of pounds crucial to the controversial redevelopment of Anglia Square is hanging in the balance.

Plans for Anglia Square include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston HomesPlans for Anglia Square include a 20-storey tower. Photo: Weston Homes

When the government decided to call-in Norwich City Council's decision to grant permission for the £271m revamp of the shopping centre, City Hall bosses feared they could lose £12.2m of government money.

A public inquiry will help determine whether the scheme is allowed, but the council feared the deadline for spending the Homes England cash would pass.

However, the government has said the Homes Infrastructure Fund money - meant to provide infrastructure to allow the development - would still be available if the scheme is given permission. And the amount available has increased to £15m.

Norwich City Council's cabinet is due to agree a contract with Homes England on Wednesday.

Anglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLYAnglia Square. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

But Columbia Threadneedle, which owns Anglia Square, has been "reluctant" to agree to have a condition imposed upon them.

That restriction is needed to prevent the site being sold once the infrastructure paid for with government cash is in place.

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In a report which will come before councillors, officers state: "It remains a non-negotiable part of the contract and their failure to agree to the condition would jeopardise the funding."

A spokesperson for Columbia Threadneedle said: "We believe in the long-term vision for Anglia Square and recognise the role of infrastructure funding as an enabler in the delivery of a scheme of this importance.

"Discussions relating to infrastructure funding are ongoing with key stakeholders and we are unable to comment further at this time."

A verbal update is expected at Wednesday's cabinet meeting.

The planning inquiry into Anglia Square will start next month and will last for three weeks.

Afterwards, the inspector will make a recommendation on whether the scheme should be allowed to go ahead or not. The secretary of state can follow that recommendation, or ignore it.

The plans for Anglia Square, from Weston Homes, would see 1,234 new homes, a leisure quarter with a cinema, car parks and a 200-bed hotel.

But the scheme - and its 20-storey tower, is opposed by Historic England, SAVE Britain's Heritage, the Victorian Society, the Norwich Society and others.

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