26 January 2019
Opposition councillors on Norwich City Council have written to the Secretary of State for Communities, James Brokenshire, to ask him to call in the planning application for new tower blocks to be built on Anglia Square.
Councillor Denise Carlo, Leader of the Green Group on Norwich City Council, and Councillor James Wright, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, both support regeneration of the site, which was opened as a shopping centre in 1970. However, they have stated in a joint letter to Mr Brokenshire that they oppose the current scheme because it is “wholly out of sympathy with the character and grain of the surrounding conservation areas”.
Councillor Carlo commented:
“Anglia Square has out-lived its sell-by date and the land adjoining has fallen into dereliction because of past short-sighted planning decisions. We mustn’t allow history to repeat itself by accepting glitzy high-rise apartment and retail blocks as a second best solution. The current Weston Homes scheme is more in keeping with Manchester city centre than Norwich, a historic city of European importance. We need the city council to proactively work with developers and design a new neighbourhood in this location, one which is sympathetic to the historic city centre conservation area and at the same time meets local needs and sustainable development requirements. Such a solution can only happen if the Secretary of State calls in the planning application for his own determination and turns down the local planning committee’s resolution to approve the present Anglia Square replacement”.
Councillor James Wright added, “Not only is the development wholly out of character with historic Norwich - the bland identikit nature of the design adds nothing to our city – but the level of affordable housing is derisory. The Labour administration has a moral obligation to work with developers to demand more housing that is truly affordable to local residents, and to ensure that the development stands the test of time for future generations.”