Height of proposed tower block for Anglia Square cut by five storeys
PUBLISHED: 07:55 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 16:08 19 September 2018
The height of a controversial tower planned for Norwich's Anglia Square has been cut by five storeys as developers submit another bid for the area's revamp to go ahead.
Housebuilder Weston Homes, along with landowner Columbia Threadneedle, had been given an extension by Norwich City Council over its bid for planning permission for the square’s transformation.
And there had been speculation, following an interview which Weston Homes’ managing director gave a national newspaper, that they could be ready to reduce the height of a 25-storey tower block on the site to 20 storeys.
This has now been confirmed and new concept drawings show the tower five stories shorter, taking the total height 253ft to 207ft.
The original plans put the tower at 25 storeys.
It means members of the public will again be able to have their say on the plans.
The previous consultation closed in May, with more than 350 comments lodged, many from members of the public who objected to the scale.
The tower, along with three large blocks of up the 12 storeys, have been the most contentious elements of the proposals for Anglia Square which include around new homes, the tower, dozens of shops, a 200-bed hotel, 600-space car park and pedestrianised areas.
But Paul Burall from the Norwich Society said while they welcomed the change, they were still concerned about the other 12-storey blocks.
He said: “We’re really glad the developers have gone away from the original attitude that the only thing viable was the original plan. Cutting off the tower is an improvement but our basic objections will remain.”
Historic England objected to the height of the tower and signalled that, if Norwich City Council’s planning officers were to recommend that councillors approve the scheme, they would seek to get it called in by the government for a decision.
Developers said the tower had now been completely redesigned “resulting in a lower building with a smaller footprint and angled facades, without the previous horizontal bands”.
And cutting five storeys from the main tower there would now be 1,209 new homes created there, instead of the previous 1,234.
A statement said: “This is to emphasise its slender proportions and reduce its visual impact on the historic buildings and character of Norwich, both from near the Anglia Square site, and in longer panoramic views.”
It added: “It is also less visible from around the city, for example no longer impacting the view from Cathedral Close.”
They also said the new plans included more amenities, better public areas, and a “major upgrade” to a section of the city’s cycle network.
This included public toilets to replace those currently in Anglia Square.
Bob Weston, chairman and chief executive of Weston Homes, said: “We have committed a huge amount of time and effort to prepare these proposals and we have also continuously listened to comments on the scheme. We have now substantially revised our plans for Anglia Square in order to respond to feedback provided by the Council, the public, statutory consultees, and local stakeholders to our original March application.”