Norwich shopping street set to lose its ‘tired and outdated’ 1970s canopies

PUBLISHED: 12:15 30 December 2019 | UPDATED: 17:05 30 December 2019

The canopies in St Stephens Street are to be refurbished. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

The canopies in St Stephens Street are to be refurbished. Pic: Dan Grimmer.


The appearance of one of Norwich’s main shopping streets is set to be changed, after permission was given for 1970s canopies to be refurbished.

The canopies in St Stephens Street are to be refurbished. Pic: Dan Grimmer.The canopies in St Stephens Street are to be refurbished. Pic: Dan Grimmer.

Norwich City Council planners have given the go-ahead for the canopies along the shop fronts on the south-eastern side of St Stephens Street to be revamped.

Aviva Investors has been granted permission by officers in City Hall's planning department.

But misgivings from the council's own conservation officer meant a wave pattern idea for the new canopies was ditched.

Documents lodged by Aviva Investors and Colman Architects stated: "The office tower blocks along this frontage have recently undergone refurbishment and therefore the tired and aging canopies are in need of refurbishment to generally improve the streetscape and retail experience."

Initial plans were for the new-look canopies, over shops from Savers to Iceland, to have aluminium cladding, giving a wave effect along them.

Documents stated: "The fascia will be formed with a layered edge of wave-form aluminium profiles coloured in varying hues of grey to give emphasis to the flowing rhythm created.

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"The redesign of the canopies was to use current manufacturing techniques in powder coated aluminium that will give the canopies a unique but coherent character."

The council's conservation officer had said the improvements to the roof and canopy were acceptable.

But they had concerns with the design of the proposed cladding.

They had said: "I do have some concerns about the design of the proposed cladding.

"Whilst I understand that the concept of the wave pattern is a metaphorical reference to the flow of people beneath, this reference will not be apparent to users of the street and the main impression will be the incongruity of the pattern.

"I am concerned that the pattern will draw attention to a functional feature of the building and fail to blend with the surrounding buildings."

It led to the wave concept being dropped. Permission for plain gray cladding was given.

The applicant said: "Whilst the proposal of recladding the canopies is a minor development, it is hoped that it will visually improve the south east part of St Stephens Street."

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