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Former shoe factory's £90m revamp in danger as developer scraps plan

PUBLISHED: 16:39 30 October 2019 | UPDATED: 07:45 31 October 2019

St Mary's Works development - view from St Mary's Church. Picture: Our Place

St Mary's Works development - view from St Mary's Church. Picture: Our Place

Our Place

A £90m revamp of a former shoe factory site in Norwich has hit a major stumbling block, with developers admitting they are heading back to the drawing board.

An artist's impression of how the regenerated St Mary's Works site could look. Pic: Our Place.An artist's impression of how the regenerated St Mary's Works site could look. Pic: Our Place.

Earlier this year, the multimillion-pound plans were unveiled for a major development on the St Mary's Works site, off Duke Street, consisting of 152 homes, a hotel, shops and office space.

The plans would see a full regeneration of the site, which includes the former Sexton, Son and Everard shoe factory, with developers Our Place promising in March that around 500 new jobs would be created.

The detailed application came after Norwich City Council granted outline permission for the project in January 2018.

However, the London-based developers have now admitted they have been forced to return to the drawing board over the scheme - though they did not elaborate on why.

An artist's impression of how the regenerated St Mary's Works site could look. Pic: Our Place.An artist's impression of how the regenerated St Mary's Works site could look. Pic: Our Place.

In a brief statement, Our Place chief executive Dominic Richards said: "Our Place has withdrawn its planning application after careful consideration.

"We are continuing to work with the city council before submitting a revised application in the coming months."

When asked for further details on what factors had led to the withdrawal and what the developer would be addressing in the revised application, a spokesman for Our Place said it would not be making any further comment on the matter.

The in-depth plans would have provided a range of different sized homes on land of Oak Street, Duke Street, St Martin's Lane and St Mary's Plain.

Dominic Richards, director of Our Place at St Marys Works public consultationDominic Richards, director of Our Place at St Marys Works public consultation

However, it now remains to be seen what changes will be made as the developer, which is also behind an associated scheme at St George's Works, redrafts its plan.

The overall vision for the two sites would see a new part of the city created called The Shoe Quarter, paying homage to the city's rich history in footwear manufacturing.

Mike Stonard, cabinet member for planning at City Hall, said: "St Mary's Works is a site the city council is keen to see developed.

"However, it needs to be a high quality development so we will continue to work with the developers to make sure this happens in a way that benefits the whole city and the people who live and work in it."

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