18th December 2019
Seven national and local heritage organisations, as well as the Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England, have called on the developers of Anglia Square in central Norwich to reconsider their proposals for the medieval city. This is a prelude to a public inquiry that will open on 28th January in Norwich.
Under the plans approved by Norwich City Council in December 2018, Anglia Square would be comprehensively redeveloped for up to 1250 dwellings, hotel, retail and commercial floorspace. The scheme includes a 20 storey tower and blocks of 4-12 storeys, replacing existing post-war structures and older buildings on the site, and is set to receive £15m of public subsidy.
Anglia Square sits in the City Centre Conservation Area and a number of grade I and grade II listed buildings surround it. If built, the tower would have a calamitous affect on the character of this magnificent medieval city: at 60m, it would be the tallest building after the cathedral.
The joint statement was published in a letter in The Times on Saturday 14th December.
Henrietta Billings, Director of SAVE Britain's Heritage says: "All the signatories agree that Anglia Square needs regeneration. We are not against its redevelopment but this city deserves better. We believe the square can be redeveloped in a much more sympathetic way with low-rise streets and squares, similar in scale to the newly completed neighbouring Goldsmith Street which was awarded the prestigious Stirling Prize. This would unlock public benefits without harming Norwich’s historic character. We urge the developers to reconsider."
Marcus Binney, Executive President of SAVE Britain's Heritage says: "England's proud medieval cathedrals have dominated many of the country's finest and most historic cities for centuries. It is nothing short of an utter disgrace that at the beginning of the third millennium their undisputed glories should by dimmed and diminished in this crude fashion."
SAVE Britain's Heritage, The Georgian Group, The Norwich Society, Ancient Monuments Society, The Victorian Society, World Monuments Fund Britain and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings all signed the letter directed at Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Weston Homes - the developers behind the scheme.
The plans have been called in for a public inquiry by the Secretary of State which is due to begin on 28th January 2020 in Norwich. A public meeting will be held on 14th January 2020 to hear from local and national organisations about the devastating heritage impact this development could have. There will also be an opportunity to see a new alternative vision for Anglia Square - streets of terraced houses, shops and cinema without a 20 storey tower.
See here for more information about the Anglia Square campaign
The text of the letter published in The Times reads:
Sir, Richard Morrison (Times2, Dec 13) is right to draw attention to the plan to redevelop Anglia Square in Norwich. A 20-storey residential tower is being proposed for the square by Columbia Threadneedle Investments and Weston Homes. If built, the tower would have a calamitous effect on the character of this magnificent medieval city: at 60m, it would be the tallest building after the cathedral. We believe the square could be redeveloped in a different way, with low-rise streets and squares, similar in scale to the neighbouring award-winning Goldsmith Street, which would unlock public benefits without harming Norwich’s historic character. Historic England, Norwich Cathedral, the Churches Conservation Trust, the Norwich Society and many others have objected. We are not against the redevelopment of Anglia Square but this city deserves better. We urge the developers to reconsider.
Henrietta Billings, SAVE Britain’s Heritage; David Adshead, Georgian Group; Paul Burall, Norwich Society; Lucie Carayon, Ancient Monuments Society; Chris Costelloe, Victorian Society; John Darlington, World Monuments Fund Britain; Dame Fiona Reynolds, Cathedrals Fabric Commission for England; Matthew Slocombe, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.