Norwich Anglia Square plan rejected by secretary of state

Image source, Weston Homes
Image caption,
A 20-storey apartment block had formed part of the proposed redevelopment of Anglia Square

Plans for a tower block and 1,250 homes in Norwich cannot go ahead, the secretary of state has ruled.

Anglia Square was to be redeveloped with apartments, a cinema, hotel and shops following the city council's approval in 2018.

The proposal received 700 objections and was called in by the government.

A statement from local government secretary Robert Jenrick said the plan "did not protect and enhance the heritage assets of the city".

His decision goes against that of the planning inspectorate who recommended the proposal be approved following a 15-day inquiry earlier this year.

Design flaws

The secretary of state said he was "supportive of economic development and housing that such a regeneration could bring", but concluded the benefits did not outweigh the harm to the city's heritage.

He pointed out design flaws, including apartments being single aspect, and said "considerable weight" was given to the harm to some listed buildings in the area.

Image source, Glyn Baker/Geograph
Image caption,
The shopping centre will be demolished to make way for two plazas, new shops, homes and a hotel

Developers Weston Homes had claimed it would have make the area a "vibrant" location and the council said the scheme would have "a significant regenerative effect on the northern city centre".

Many of the hundreds of objectors expressed concern the tower block would have a negative impact on the skyline and could set a "precedent" for other development in the city.

There were also claims "gentrification" would displace the existing local community.

The Dean and Chapter of Norwich Cathedral said it welcomed the need for redevelopment but felt the scheme would "dwarf" its neighbours.

'Damaging scheme'

Some 120 comments in support said Anglia Square and the derelict seven-storey Sovereign House needed a fresh look, with its redevelopment discussed for several years without progress.

Historic England, which called for the inquiry, had branded it a "damaging scheme".

"While we recognise Anglia Square is in need of redevelopment, this scheme with its 20-storey tower is certainly not the answer," it said last year.

The developers, Norwich City Council and Historic England have been approached for comment by the BBC.

An appeal can be lodged at the High Court within six weeks.

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