Weston Homes given planning go-ahead for new Anglia Square proposals, a local 'Grounded in Norwich' scheme featuring pedestrian streets and squares | Weston Homes

Weston Homes given planning go-ahead for new Anglia Square proposals, a local ‘Grounded in Norwich’ scheme featuring pedestrian streets and squares

Weston Homes has gained a Resolution to Grant Planning Permission for their new hybrid (part full/part outline) planning application made to Norwich City Council for the redevelopment of the 4.65 hectare (11.5 acre) Anglia Square site in Norwich, which will deliver a scheme of up to 1,100 new homes ranging across buildings from 3 to 8 storeys, which are designed around inner courtyards, a public square and a network of pedestrian streets.The Resolution to Grant Planning follows seven years of hard work and consultation between Weston Homes and the people of Norwich which has resulted in the creation of a local scheme that is ‘Grounded in Norwich’. The scheme reinstates the historic street pattern that existed during the Victorian era, to deliver a new high-quality neighbourhood for Norwich.

As part of the local consent, Weston Homes will now take over ownership of the Anglia Square site from current landowner Columbia Threadneedle. Although there are several hurdles to be finalised, Weston Homes anticipate that they will start the phased redevelopment of Anglia Square within the next few months.

Combining good quality architecture with a new residential neighbourhood the redevelopment of Anglia Square will reinvigorate the immediate locality and create a thriving new location with vibrant streetscenes.The regenerated Anglia Square will provide for up to 1,100 homes of mixed tenure and up to 8,000 sq m (86,111 sq ft) of non-residential floorspace in addition to a community hub, community hall, new employment floorspace for a range of businesses, public toilets and accessible changing place facility. There will be up to 450 car parking spaces, 1,888 new cycle bays, a North/South cycle path through the site, the planting of around 200 new trees, 1.2km of new hedging and ecological features contributing to an +85% biodiversity net gain.

Following the Secretary of State’s decision to call in and overturn the local planning consent on the previous proposals for Anglia Square, Weston Homes “returned to the drawing board” and sought to design a new scheme from scratch, addressing the key issues raised by the Secretary of State and undertaking extensive local community and key stakeholder consultation including seven major public exhibitions involving some 1,000 local people from Norwich, a community-led design forum and extensive individual stakeholder meetings.

The design of the new scheme also involved extensive pre-application discussions with Norwich City Council over several years with an extensive range of stakeholders including Norwich County Council, Historic England, The Norwich Society, Save Britain’s Heritage, MATA, Norwich Cycling Campaign, Norfolk Vision, Norfolk Access Group, City Gates Church, Norwich over the Wensum and Norwich Cathedral.Weston Homes say that over the last seven years the world has changed dramatically with the rise in digital retailing enabling Weston Homes to relook at all elements of the commercial viability of the scheme.

There is now a 35% reduction in the overall floorspace of the development, the tallest building in the new scheme is 8 storeys tall, 12 storeys less than the original 20 storey tower, and 52% of the residential dwellings are dual aspect, compared to 30% dual aspect previously.

During the Victorian era the Anglia Square site was occupied by a network of streets providing housing, shops and factories. Historic photography alongside existing local properties has helped to inform the new scheme which will provide elegant contemporary buildings with architectural facades and detailing that complement the existing character and street scenes of Norwich.The new scheme will deliver buildings with contrasting red, white and flint grey brick. Features will include cantilevered and ornamental balconies, with brick detailing and design details to the upper floors such as headers and sills, and undulating roofspaces characterised by gables, pitched roofs and dormer windows.

At ground level the scheme is designed around a network of central pedestrian courtyards accessed by covered archways, streets for pedestrians and bicycles and public spaces. There will be feature piers and residential front doors opening onto the streets and the pedestrian lanes and squares will feature large format paving in design patterns complimentary to Norwich complete with street furniture, planting, trees and lighting.The residential element will deliver one, two and three bedroom homes of mixed tenure, the initial phase comprised of 279 market sale, 58 social rent and 16 shared ownership properties. A further 747 homes are included in the plans, with the final residential mix to be determined through subsequent Reserved Matters applications.

The new scheme will include 100% electric vehicle charging point provision with other sustainable features including 56% of the new development’s energy needs being met through air source heat pumps and a 58.4% reduction in CO2 emissions over Part L of Building Regulations 2021 requirements. The brown, green and biodiverse roofs to the development and new planting will create a biodiversity net gain of +85%.During the construction period the development will create circa 2,211 direct construction jobs and related employment with the complete project providing circa 288 jobs in the retail and other commercial premises. Within the wider Norwich and east of England region the new development is anticipated to create a further circa 2,239 indirect and induced jobs. Residents of the new housing are calculated to spend up to £36.4 million per annum in the local Norwich economy on retail and leisure consumption, excluding revenue from businesses and local residential housing taxes.

Bob Weston, Chairman & Managing Director of Weston Homes says: “Weston Homes is delighted by the Resolution to Grant Planning which underlines the creation of a local ‘Grounded in Norwich’ scheme, designed by the local community of Norwich. We have learnt so much from this project, through going back to the drawing board, consulting locally and designing a domestic scale scheme with features led by the aspirations of the people of Norwich rather than Weston Homes. We are looking forward to beginning the delivery of this fantastic new development for the people of Norwich.”

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