The former City Care Depot site is located in the west of the city and is 3.65 hectares in size.
The site was previously used as a council depot and was used for a variety of uses in conjunction with that use. It currently comprises various industrial units together with significant areas of the site previously used for open storage. However, the existing buildings are large and ageing. The previous uses of the site included offices, vehicle repair workshops and storage.
Some short-term business use of the site for similar uses as that carried out previously is currently taking place in advance of a more comprehensive redevelopment of the site occurring.
The site is close to existing residential developments at Valpy Avenue to the north and on the other side of Mile Cross Road. The site is largely flat and the site level rises significantly to the north. The railway path (part of Marriot’s Way) runs along the southern boundary of the site which is also a key cycle route and part of the green link network. Adjacent to the site on the far side of the railway path are recycling centres, business buildings and the Gypsy and Traveller site at Swanton Road.
This surrounding area is dominated by a mixture of industrial and residential uses. The industrial areas are however fragmented and are increasingly being redeveloped for housing. The site provides important employment provision in this part of the city, primarily for small businesses. Mile Cross Road is part of the major road network and is a radial road to the west of the city.
This allocation provides an opportunity to make more efficient use of the former City Care site, providing opportunities for small and start-up businesses, and for housing development to meet the JCS target.
This site is part of an employment allocation in the 2004 Replacement local plan. However, much of the existing development on the site is not compatible with adjacent uses and the site layout and densities represent an inefficient use of land. The ageing buildings are increasingly out-of-date and less suitable for modern small and start-up business uses. Redevelopment of the site provides an opportunity to reconfigure its layout and provide key employment opportunities in this part of the city whilst contributing to the JCS housing growth targets. The loss of some employment land on the site will be compensated for by the wider regeneration benefits to this part of the city through a mixed use scheme which retains employment as part of a mix of uses and create enhancements of and better access to green infrastructure within this area.
The development will need to overcome a number of constraints. The site is adjacent to the valley of the River Wensum which is an important environment asset. It is also close to the Sweet Briar Road Meadows which a Site of Special Scientific Interest. Development proposals should be designed to preserve and enhance biodiversity.
There are a number of trees and habitats adjacent to the site which should be protected and enhanced.
The site is partially covered by Flood Zone 2 and is greater than 1 hectare in size; it therefore requires a flood risk assessment and appropriate mitigation measures should be provided as part of the development. Other constraints include possible contamination and possible ground condition issues.
Development proposals must take account of the site’s location within the consultation area for the Waste Transfer Station and Household Recycling Centre at Swanton Road, and location within the outer zone of the Health and Safety Executive consultation area for Heigham Waterworks and Bayer Crop Science. Site layout and disposition of uses should reflect this; residential development in particular should be located on the northern part of the site to ensure that new residential occupiers are not adversely affected by noise and odour generated by the recycling centres or by impacts arising between uses.
The adjacent railway path is a key element of the city’s cycling network; the design of development should be permeable, enabling pedestrian / cycle links through the site to connect with the route.
Mile Cross Road is already a busy road and not capable of handling significant increase in traffic from residential development. Access to the residential part of the development should be through Valpy Avenue, whilst the commercial part can continue to be accessed from Mile Cross Road.
The site is owned by the city council. The site is suitable and available for development in the plan period.
POLICY R36: Mile Cross Depot - mixed use development
Land at Mile Cross Depot is allocated for mixed use development to include housing and small business workshop units. A minimum of 75 dwellings will be provided.
Development proposals will ensure that:
- the layout and disposition of uses is designed to minimise impact on existing and new housing areas;
- residential access is taken from Valpy Avenue;
- commercial area access is taken from Mile Cross Road;
- they preserve and enhance biodiversity;
- the southern frontage of the site to the Railway Path is enhanced and landscape and pedestrian and cycle linkages provided through the site;
- the impacts of noise and odour generated by the recycling centres or by impacts arising between uses are mitigated for new residential occupiers. A noise assessment will be required.