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University secures permission for seven storey lecture theatre and flats plan

PUBLISHED: 07:55 11 January 2019

How Mary Chapman Court could look once it has been redeveloped for Norwich University of the Arts. Pic: Hudson Architects.

How Mary Chapman Court could look once it has been redeveloped for Norwich University of the Arts. Pic: Hudson Architects.

Hudson Architects

A city centre university building is to make way for new lecture theatre, teaching facilities and enough accommodation for 100 students.

Mary Chapman Court, which could be knocked down and replaced by new student flats. Pic: Archant.Mary Chapman Court, which could be knocked down and replaced by new student flats. Pic: Archant.

Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) has been granted permission to build a major new project at Mary Chapman Court, which will see an existing block of student flats demolished.

Standing seven storeys tall at its highest point, the new development will also see a new public area alongside the Wensum off Duke Street, widening a stretch of the riverside walk.

Angela Robson, deputy vice chancellor at NUA, said: “We are really pleased planning permission has been granted after careful and thorough consideration of our proposals.

“The redevelopment of Mary Chapman Court will enhance our teaching and learning facilities and create opportunities to offer new courses.

“It is an investment in Norwich as a place to live, study and acquire creative skills - and will help to open up an area alongside the Wensum for everyone to enjoy.”

The development will range in height, with its highest point being 22m, stepping down to two storeys close to the main university building.

Some concerns though were raised over the new building would restrict light into homes on Dukes Palace Wharf, in particular two specific windows.

Neighbours to the site spoke at a meeting of Norwich City Council’s planning committee, at which the application was being discussed.

Maureen Baker, one of the neighbours, said: “Just because the scheme is better than what is currently there, does not mean it is the best scheme there can be.”

However, members of the committee agreed the overall benefits of the proposal outweighed these concerns, voting to follow the recommendations of their officers and approve the 
scheme.

Keith Driver, chairman of the committee, said: “I think it will be fantastic for the city and will really cheer up the area.”

The decision came after it was revealed that a planning appeal over a similar application, on the opposite site of Duke Street, had been dismissed by the planning inspectorate.

The city council turned down the application, to build student homes on the car park behind the Premier Inn back in June 2017. The decision was appealed, but was unsuccessful.

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