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Developers withdraw High Court action over major scheme in centre of Norwich

Developers have withdrawn a threatened High Court action over a controversial £271m building plan in the centre of Norwich.

Weston Homes and Columbia Threadneedle gained planning consent from Norwich City Council in December 2018 to redevelop the city’s Anglia Square with a 20-storey tower and several smaller blocks comprising in all 1,250 homes, a hotel and commercial space.

Conservation group Save Britain’s Heritage objected that this would adversely affect a number of grade I and grade II listed buildings that surround it.

The plans were then rejected by Robert Jenrick, Secretary of Sate for Communities and Local Government, last year and the developer prepared a legal challenge to this.

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Weston Homes said it would now withdraw the action and “return to the drawing board’ during which it would “spend the next few months in dialogue with Homes England, partner Columbia Threadneedle Investments, the city council and other stakeholders in order to devise and agree a collaborative solution for the future of Anglia Square”.

It would review objections raised by Historic England and others and the reasons for the Secretary of State’s refusal.

Chairman Bob Weston said: “Weston Homes remain committed to devising proposals that provide a future for the Anglia Square site and for this to be successful we need to be aligned with key stakeholders such as Historic England and others who like us are passionate about the site and Norwich.

“We are looking forward to working in friendly collaboration with everyone to create fresh proposals for this challenging site to get the best possible solution for everyone.”

Marcus Binney, executive president of Save Britain's Heritage said: “The acceptance of Robert Jenrick's decision comes at a time when other cathedral cities such as Worcester are also threatened with ugly and unsuitable tall buildings.

“It reinforces the message that in historic cities beauty comes first. There is plenty of well-scaled new housing in the centre of Norwich at three, four and five storeys to serve as a model.”

Mark Smulian

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