The site (0.28 hectares in size) is currently occupied by a surface car park accessed from Theatre Street and is also used as an informal pedestrian link into the Chapelfield shopping centre. It occupies a strategic location between the major local landmarks and cultural destinations of the Forum, the Theatre Royal, St Stephens and St Peter Mancroft churches and the Assembly House and between the major retail destinations of Chapelfield shopping centre, the market and Norwich Lanes.
The lack of development on this site, apart from the isolated 3 storey office building in its north-east corner, reduces the enclosure of Theatre Street and has a negative impact on the setting of the neighbouring grade 1 listed buildings of the Assembly House to the west and St Stephens church and its churchyard to the east of the site.
There are 2 storey pavilion style buildings, occupied by shops and restaurants, flanking Chapelfield Plain to the south of the site and the Chantry church administration building to the south-west. Poorly defined spaces to the rear of neighbouring buildings provide inactive negative frontages.
Significant improvements to the public realm have been made in recent years in surrounding areas, including Theatre Street, Millennium Plain, St Stephen’s churchyard and Chapelfield Plain and there is a positive vista from the north west of the site to St Peter Mancroft church to the north.
The JCS promotes the city centre as the main focus in the sub-region for retail, leisure and office development, with housing and educational development also adding to the vibrancy of the centre. It states that this part of the city centre should be developed in accordance with the St Stephens Street area outline masterplan.
Redevelopment of the site offers the opportunity make better use of this valuable city centre site and to continue the development of a vibrant mixed use quarter, extending retailing, leisure and commercial or housing uses from Chapelfield. Ideally development should include redevelopment of the office building on site to achieve a comprehensive scheme; this is what is envisaged in the masterplan.
The masterplan sets out an indicative layout for the site which includes two 3-storey buildings flanking a north-south pedestrian link, and a triangular shaped open space to the south of the site linking to Chapelfield Plain. It also identifies the potential for an east-west pedestrian route between the Assembly House and St Stephens churchyard and the Chantry.
The masterplan proposes that 1,420 square metres of ground floor space could be provided for retail, leisure, entertainment or hospitality uses, with 3,840 square metres on upper floors for a further mix of uses. It states that the proposed building in the illustrative layout in the north-east of the site, located next to St Stephen’s churchyard, and therefore adjacent to an important green space and habitat, should have a green roof or wall. This would complement the green wall on the Marks and Spencer development east of the churchyard.
The Norwich area transportation strategy implementation plan (NATSIP) identifies the car park, which currently provides 90 spaces (with 1250 other spaces in the immediate vicinity), as being appropriate for redevelopment. This is part of the overall policy of retaining city centre parking at 1995 levels (10,002) spaces, freeing capacity for sites elsewhere within the city centre for new car parking facilities with better access from the inner ring road.
NATSIP also identifies the potential for relocation of more bus stops to Theatre Street as part of the wider proposals to use Rampant Horse Street as a bus and cycle only route to promote sustainable transport, with restricted general vehicle access to the site. Access should preferably be from the servicing yard for Chapelfield from the south. No car parking should be provided on site. The potential for east–west pedestrian links between the Chantry/Assembly House and St. Stephens churchyard should be assessed as part of the development proposals.
There are two lime trees on site, by the southern boundary and close to the western boundary. As “grade b” trees, proposals for their removal will have to justified and mitigated in accordance with policy.
Development must be designed to enhance the setting of the neighbouring listed buildings, reflecting its location in the conservation area. Appropriate historic interpretation information should be incorporated into the development. The site abuts the boundary of a Scheduled Ancient Monument (the Assembly House) and as there is a possibility of archaeological remains extending under the site which may require preservation in situ an archaeological assessment will be required prior to development.
The site is suitable and available for development. Other than the office building in its north-east corner, the site is owned by Norwich City Council and is available for sale to enable development within the plan period. Although it was allocated for development in the Replacement local plan 2004, development potential will be increased by the implementation of new traffic proposals for the area and the co-ordinated approach to redevelopment set out in the St Stephens masterplan.
POLICY CC25: Chantry Car Park – mixed use development
The Chantry car park (0.28 hectares) is allocated for redevelopment for a mix of uses including:
- retail/café/leisure/ art/ entertainment uses on ground floors; and
- mixed uses (including retail and/or offices) on upper floors.
Design of the development should be consistent with the approach as set out in the St Stephens Street area outline masterplan. In particular development must:
- enhance the public realm, with improved pedestrian and cycle links between Chapelfield Plain and Millennium Plain designed to enable views to St Peter Mancroft church from the north of the route;
- provide a public open space in the south-east of the site;
- reinstate building lines to Theatre Street;
- be of an appropriate scale and design to enhance the setting of the grade one listed St Stephens church and the Assembly House;
- respect the setting of St Stephens churchyard;
- provide access for servicing; and
- be car free.