The Anglia Square plan that local councillors approved but the secretary of state threw out

Weston Homes has decided to accept criticism of its proposed £271m Anglia Square development and return to the drawing board.

Norwich City Council planning committee of voted in favour of the proposed scheme back in 2018 and resolved to grant planning permission. The proposals were then called in by the secretary of state. A public inquiry was held, resulting in the planning inspector recommending that planning permission should be granted. But communities secretary Robert Jenrick was swayed by opponents to the scheme, which include Historic England and decided to refuse permission. He said that demolishing the 1960s-built Anglia Square shopping centre and replacing it with a 20-storey block of flats, a hotel, cinema and new shops “did not protect and enhance the heritage assets of the city”.

In response Weston Homes and its financial partner Columbia Threadneedle Investments applied to the High Court asking for a statutory review under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. That was in January 2021.

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The decision to back down now has come ‘after dialogue with key stakeholders’, Weston said. It will now spend the next few months talking to Homes England, the city council and other stakeholders to devise new plans for Anglia Square that might prove more widely acceptable and address the heritage concerns.

Bob Weston, chairman & chief executive of Weston Homes, 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.”

James Rigg, Columbia Threadneedle chief investment officer of UK real estate, added: “We believe in the long term vision for Anglia Square. We continue to collaborate with stakeholders with our partner Weston Homes in order to create a viable future for Anglia Square and devise proposals that meet the aspirations of the community.”

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