June 13, 2024

Meet the opposition | Norwich City | SwanseaAfter eight years, Weston Homes was forced to abandon plans to redevelop the 4.65 hectare (11.5 acre) Anglia Square site in Norwich, which was expected to produce up to 1,100 new homes. A number of problems affected the scheme’s viability and made funding very challenging.

The historic Anglia Square regeneration was expected to generate up to 1,100 new mixed-tenure homes, up to 8,000 square meters (86,111 square feet) of non-residential (retail, office, and leisure) floorspace, a community hub, a community hall, and new employment space for a variety of businesses. The project was expected to significantly increase inward investment and create new jobs in Norwich.

After eight years of investment, arduous work, and consultation between Weston Homes, Norwich City Council, the people of Norwich, and a wide range of stakeholders, a local scheme was created and a successful Resolution to Grant Planning was obtained in April 2023. As a result, the planned scheme has been suspended.

Weston Homes cites seven major difficulties as the cause of their withdrawal from the program, citing delays, escalating expenses, and adverse effects on the project’s financial viability.

The first of these is the expense and delay in planning. Due to the national government’s interference in the proposed scheme, Weston Homes has been negatively impacted. Local approval was given to Weston Homes’ first proposals for Anglia Square.

Because of Robert Jenrick’s intervention, Weston Homes was forced to start over and create a new plan that would answer the concerns expressed by the Secretary of State. The local community and important stakeholders were then consulted for an additional 12 months, and in April 2023 the present project was granted a Resolution to Grant.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–2021) also contributed to the delays in planning and significantly impacted the viability of the proposed office and retail space within the scheme. The rise in digital retailing and homeworking has reduced market demand for commercial space and retail units.

Thirdly, additional delays to the plan occurred in March 2022 as a result of Natural England’s Nutrient Neutrality directive being denied.

Because of Robert Jenrick’s intervention, Weston Homes was forced to start over and create a new plan that would answer the concerns expressed by the Secretary of State. The local community and important stakeholders were then consulted for an additional 12 months, and in April 2023 the present project was granted a Resolution to Grant.

The economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic (2020–2021) also contributed to the delays in planning and significantly impacted the viability of the proposed office and retail space within the scheme. The rise in digital retailing and homeworking has reduced market demand for commercial space and retail units.

Thirdly, additional delays to the plan occurred in March 2022 as a result of Natural England’s Nutrient Neutrality directive being denied.

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