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Norwich city centre public spaces plan

Case studies

Tombland

Tombland is one of the most historic public spaces within the city of Norwich, forming the centre of city until the Norman Conquest, when the Castle was built and the market was moved to its current location west of the castle.

Tombland is no-longer a primary shopping destination but rather a centre for restaurants, a transport hub for the northern part of the city centre and is on the main pedestrian and cycle route between Norwich Cathedral and the present day market place.

It is within the city centre conservation area and surrounded by listed buildings, and scheduled monuments. It has become apparent that the triangular gyratory layout to the east, relatively unchanged since at least the 1800’s, is not the most practical use of the space available nor is it suited to present day needs of the city.

The Transforming Cities scheme seeks to reinstate the east side of Tombland as a public space by removing the derelict public convenience and vehicles from the area to:

  • give more space to pedestrians;
  • remove obstacles faced by people with disabilities;
  • reduce vehicle noise and dominance by relocating bus stops, narrowing carriageways and installing raised tables;
  • create a multifunctional gathering space around the refurbished obelisk drinking fountain;
  • enable people to sit and enjoy the shade of the trees, architecture, and quality of the space; and
  • unify the space to improve pedestrian connections to surrounding areas.

Phase 1 of the scheme is scheduled to commence August 2020 and due to complete February/March 2021.

Under the Flyover

The construction of the Magdalen Street flyover created an ugly intrusion half-way up Magdalen Street. Although the street continues beneath, it creates a perceptual barrier and the space beneath it forms a void in the street that feels hostile.

Other cities have successfully used repurposed shipping containers to create lively temporary environments for hanging out, buying quirky items and watching intimate performances.

The city council, which owns part of the land, produced a design brief that resulted in the owners of Anglia Square, who own the rest of the land, commissioning architects and securing planning permission for the scheme shown in these images.

Implementation timescales will be clarified following the outcome of the public inquiry for Anglia Square. 

Duke Street riverside

The Norwich University of the Arts (NUA) are constructing a new building next to the river on the west side of Duke Street. The new building will contain a lecture theatre, teaching spaces, offices and 100 student rooms.

At the ground floor facing the river will be a new public space measuring 18m x 35m that will be owned and maintained by NUA. The scheme will also feature a 2.5m wide enhanced riverside walk that provides ramped access up to Duke Street. This will overcome one of the obstacles for movement by people with disabilities identified in an accessibility audit that accompanied the River Wensum Strategy.

This new space and ramped riverside walk will link to the County Council’s project to complete the missing link in the riverside walk between Duke Street Bridge and St Georges Bridge, which also features in the River Wensum Strategy.