Anglia Square: Campaigners call for fresh approach

Statement on Anglia Square from SAVE Britain’s Heritage

10th February 2024

Following the sudden announcement this week that developer Weston Homes is pulling out of Anglia Square, Norwich, it is clear that the current scheme cannot be delivered. 

This doesn't have to mean another endless delay. The departure of Weston Homes is an opportunity for a once-in-a-generation review of the redevelopment of this prominent site that has partly blighted this area of the city centre conservation area for years. 

The world has changed since the planning application was submitted in terms of new and increasingly urgent local and national economic and environmental pressures. A fresh approach is required.

We call on Norwich City Council – which has a fine track record in developing schemes such as Goldsmith Street – to take a lead and re-think the future development options and alternative partners for this site. 

Responding to local concerns, a community-driven stakeholder engagement process involving a fresh vision for Anglia Square has already taken place. This alternative approach has been developed with architects Ash Sakula, commissioned by Historic England and SAVE Britain's Heritage. This vision – based around re-introducing a street-based model rather than overscaled city blocks or tower blocks is an ideal starting point. 

Homes England, the government's housing agency, which was involved in funding a £15m grant of public money to Weston Homes, has a leading role to play in investing in and supporting a more sustainable scheme that will have community buy-in as well as a long-term future.



The proposals that have come forward on this site over the last eight years alone have been highly contentious. The 20-storey tower scheme of mainly one- and two-bed flats and single-aspect flats was rightly thrown out at a public inquiry in 2020. It was one of the most controversial schemes seen in Norwich in a generation, uniting local and national heritage organisations and civic groups in opposition. SAVE Britain's Heritage alongside the Norwich Society and Historic England, the government's heritage advisers, successfully challenged the plans at the public inquiry.

Having stated that the redevelopment of Anglia Square was not viable without the 20-storey tower, after the public inquiry result Weston Homes then came forward with an alternative scheme without the tower

While this scheme was an improvement on the first, it remained controversial due to its sheer size and bulk, the high number of one- and two-bedroom flats in an area with an identified need for family housing, the high number of single-aspect flats with windows only on one side, the lack of affordable housing, and the exemption from local infrastructure levy for community facilities. 

The design of the scheme was singled out for criticism due to its anonymous city block design – with 14 blocks of up to eight storeys of predominantly one- and two-bed single-aspect flats wrapped around indoor car parks. This scheme, permitted by Norwich City Council in 2023, has now been scrapped by Weston Homes.



Notes to editors:

1. For more information and images contact Elizabeth Hopkirk: / 020 7253 3500.

2. See here for SAVE's alternative vision for Anglia Square, designed by Ash Sakula Architects.

3. See here for our last press release on our objection to the plans for Anglia Square.

4.SAVE Britain’s Heritage is an independent voice in conservation that fights for threatened historic buildings and sustainable reuses. We stand apart from other organisations by bringing together architects, engineers, planners and investors to offer viable alternative proposals. Where necessary, and with expert advice, we take legal action to prevent major and needless losses. Our success stories range from Smithfield Market in London and Wentworth Woodhouse stately home in Yorkshire, to a Lancashire bowls club and the Liverpool terraces where Ringo Starr grew up.