Concerns over dog walkers, tower, library books and views: More than 200 have had say over Anglia Square revamp
PUBLISHED: 08:21 10 May 2018 | UPDATED: 16:39 10 May 2018
More than 200 comments have been lodged over controversial proposals to revamp Norwich’s Anglia Square, with the clock ticking on the final deadline for views to be submitted.
The latest submissions include:
• Concerns from Natural England over the impact an anticipated increase in dog walkers would have on the area around the River Wensum
• Broadland District Council and the Friends of Catton Park are worried about how the 25-storey tower could affect views from Catton Park
• The NHS is seeking contributions from the developer to relocate and refit Magdalen Street’s Gurney Surgery.
• Norfolk County Council wants the developers to include a new library or to pay for extra books for other libraries.
Housebuilder Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, have lodged plans with Norwich City Council for the ambitious transformation of the shopping complex.
It would include up to 1,250 new homes, a 25-storey tower, dozens of shops, a 200-bed hotel, 600-space car park and pedestrianised areas.
The project would see a minimum of 120 affordable homes, plus a £2.5m new base for Surrey Chapel, which would be demolished.
Norwich City Council’s planning committee will, ultimately, make the decision on whether the scheme should get the green light.
Of the 196 comments from the public which have been lodged so far, 172 of them are objections, with 18 in support.
While many people say they want to see something happen to the complex, the scale of the development - and particularly the height of the tower - has proved particularly contentious.
The developers have said the proposals are the result of two years of extensive discussion with the city council and that the regeneration would transform the area and enhance the local community.
The applicant says the tower has been designed as a “strong visual counterpoint” to Norwich’s historic landmarks, such as the cathedral.
They say the financial viability of Anglia Square’s redevelopment “rests with the scheme in its entirety.”
The deadline for comments, which can be submitted via www.norwich.gov.uk, is Monday.
Impact of new dog walkers must be considered, says Natural England
The potential impact from dog-walkers moving into the new homes at Anglia Square needs to be considered, according to Natural England.
They have said they might need to object to the proposal, without further information over what would be done to offset impact on ‘designated sites’, such as conservation areas along the River Wensum, The Broads and Broadland.
They say dog walkers are likely to “utilise accessible open space offsite, including designated sites”.
If 30pc of new households have dogs - the national average - it would mean about 375 dogs, each needing to be walked once or twice a day, Natural England says.
They say: “Whilst we understand the national average may not be strictly applicable due to the types of dwellings proposed, it is possible that scale of development could significantly increase the numbers of dogs and dog owners in the area.”
Opposition to 25-storey tower
The height of the proposed 25-storey tower is one of the most contentious elements of the scheme.
The developers say it has been designed as a “strong visual counterpoint” to city landmarks, but objectors say it does not fit with the city’s character.
The Friends of Catton Park are objecting to it, saying it would be “significantly detrimental” to the “important view” of the city from the park, with Broadland District Council also expressing concerns.
Stefan Gurney, from the Norwich Business Improvement District, said the business community supported redevelopment.
But he added: “A 25-storey tower block will be a very large residential unit and disproportionate to the local cityscape and will be above all other structures in the city.
“Would it be better to produce two towers of 13 storeys or a combination not to impact on the sight lines and local area.”
Contributions for library books, but not school places, to be sought
Money for extra library books will be sought if the development goes ahead, but council bosses say they do not need money for new school places.
Norfolk County Council says the development of 1,250 new homes would increase pressure on the city’s libraries, so they want a new library building as part of the scheme, or a contribution for extra books or equipment at existing libraries.
But County Hall says it will not be seeking money for new primary school places - for the time being.
They say the development is likely to lead to 61 primary school age pupils living in the area and 60 secondary school pupils.
While Magdalen Gates Primary School is full, a new free school - St Clements Hill Academy - is due to open in September and will grow to become a 420 place school. There is space at Sewell Park Academy and Open Academy for older children.
But the council added it might seek money if further expansion is needed.
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