In this section open spaces have been broadly categorised as public gardens if their floor is mainly soft and green and as squares if the floor is mostly sealed with paving or asphalt.
The three largest and most important publicly accessible gardens are Chapelfield Gardens, the Upper Close beside the Cathedral, and the pairing of Castle Gardens and Green. Funding is available to improve the part of Castle Gardens near the Whiffler Theatre to complement the Royal Palace Reborn project.
Norwich exists because of the River Wensum, which brought trade and a water supply. For most of the city’s history the riverside was a place of industry, but now some of the city’s most attractive green spaces line it, such as the area around Cow Tower and St Georges Green.
More accessible green space is planned. The St James Quay development under construction on Barrack Street will provide a new garden with great views along the river flanked by fragments of city wall. The garden of the Nelson Hotel opposite the train station could be made publicly accessible as part of the riverside walk if development happens there. The development of St Marys Works would facilitate access and improvement of the churchyards of St Mary Coslany and St Martin at Oak, with a pedestrian route between St Marys Plain and the churches.
Several new squares have recently been created or revived – St Andrews Plain, Millennium Plain and All Saints Green. St Annes Plain is nearly complete off King Street by Lady Julian bridge and another riverside square features in the development by the Norwich University of the Arts next to Duke Street bridge.
The two greatest squares in Norwich are the Market Place and Tombland. The market received the accolade of best large outdoor market in 2019. By contrast, Tombland carries most of the traffic heading to the north of the city and suffers from an accretion of structures, parking and degraded surfaces that deter people from dwelling there. The northern part of the space was simplified in 2015 and the project for the southern part has political approval. Funding confirmation is awaited from the government as part of the Transforming Cities programme.
The Anglia Square redevelopment features a new square and a redesign and reconfiguration of the existing square, which await a decision from the secretary of state following the recent planning inquiry. Planning permission was granted for an exciting new urban space under the Magdalen Street flyover.
Hay Hill has been identified for improvement through the Towns Fund due to its geographical centrality, business and the opportunity to make the space more versatile for events and easier cross movement.