Norwich Gladstone House writers' centre gets planning permission

Gladstone House Image copyright Other
Image caption Gladstone House was once the base of the Liberal Party in Norwich

Planning permission has been granted to turn a Grade II-listed Georgian town house in Norwich into a writers' centre despite some opposition from residents.

City councillors have approved plans to convert Gladstone House into a national centre for writing and translation with facilities for conferences and events.

The scheme was backed by planners but opposed by English Heritage, the Georgian Society and some residents.

The planning committee voted eight to three in favour with one abstention.

The centre will provide teaching and conference areas, offices, a café, private bar and a shop.

Two writers in residence apartments will be built in the complex.

Image copyright Other
Image caption The centre is due to open to the public in 2016 but finance is still an issue

The developers claim Gladstone House will be the base for a new organisation "to lead the UK's literature sector, with links to other organisations internationally and to enhance Norwich's status as England's first UNESCO City of Literature".

But those opposed to the development said the changes would "harm a listed building" and noise from events would disrupt local residents.

A grant of £3m had been received and pledges of financial support have been given by the University of East Anglia and Norfolk County Council among others.

If the required finance of £8.5m is achieved, the centre could open to the public by autumn 2016.

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