UEA’s £65m Sky House gets green light despite ‘grave concerns’ over parking
PUBLISHED: 13:23 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:51 12 March 2020
A multi-million pound teaching facility for the University of East Anglia has been given the green light - despite “grave concerns” over parking in neighbouring streets.
The UEA has applied to Norwich City Council for permission to build a £65m building known as the Sky House on its main car park - in a development that will see the loss of more than 200 car parking spaces on campus.
The move is being made to help facilitate further improvements at the university, with the new building planned to provide a space to allow works to be carried out to the Lasdun Teaching Wall.
However, while councillors were full of praise for the building's design, there were several fears raised that the loss of 243 spaces could exacerbate existing parking issues in the surrounding streets.
Roger Ryan, city councillor for the University ward, said: 'Nobody disputes the great contribution the UEA makes to the local economy and the community as a whole. However, I have major and grave concerns about the travel plan of the development.
'The loss of 243 spaces is considerable and I cannot see anything other than cars ending up parking on roads in my ward. Already students and staff members park on neighbouring streets and I can only see this getting worse.'
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Mike Sands, city councillor for the Bowthorpe ward, added: 'I have had no end of concerns from people about parking on streets. Until the university takes the issue seriously it will continue to create problems.'
Caroline Ackroyd, who represents the Eaton ward, reflected this view.
All but one of Norwich City Council's planning committee voted in favour of the new building, with Green Party councillor Paul Neale voting against it.
The new building is planned to range in height between five and eight storeys and will be built on the car park off University Drive.
The UEA said the loss of car parking spaces in the main car park was in line with its travel plan, which it said had encouraged more environmentally-friendly options like walking, cycling and park and ride.
UEA vice-chancellor Prof David Richardson said: 'This is excellent news for UEA and we're delighted to have planning permission approved.
'We're particularly pleased that the panel were satisfied by our Green Infrastructure Strategy, as minimising the environmental impact and maintaining the biodiversity of our campus is a key priority for the project.
'We are committed to investing in our people through improving our campus and giving our students and staff the best possible space to work, learn, study, research and teach in for generations to come. Achieving this milestone is another step towards making all of that happen.'