The site includes Earlham Hall and the neighbouring areas to its east formerly used as a nursery and a depot. The site is 2.04 hectares in size and does not include any part of the historic Earlham Park or its public car park.
Earlham Hall is a grade II* listed building in a parkland setting adjoining historic courtyard buildings and walls. These include the former coach house, the bothy and the donkey engine for the well. Some of these buildings are currently in a poor state of repair. The historic rose gardens to the south-east of the Hall are not within the site.
The former depot adjacent to University Drive is screened by trees and high hedges.
The site is accessed from University Drive off Earlham Road and neighbours Earlham Park and the University of East Anglia (UEA) campus. The Sports Park is located opposite on the east side of University Drive.
The UEA is an important asset for the city and the county. It is a major employer and is internationally recognised for its excellence. The growth of the university and neighbouring knowledge based industries is fundamental to the economic strategy for the area. Repairs to Earlham Hall and its courtyard buildings will bring it back into productive use. Allocation of the site for business uses will allow potential for additional buildings and accommodate a low carbon centre in the area which will help encourage interconnectivity between established educational uses on site and potential expansive business enterprise and research uses.
The UEA Vision and Design Document for the Earlham Hall area states that the prime objective for the exemplary low carbon building to be sited within the depot site is to encourage small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to develop and create jobs in connection with the low carbon economy. It will deliver business support to local businesses benefiting from the knowledge created at the UEA and Norwich Research Park. Creation of other educational floorspace on site is proposed to enhance benefits to the enterprise hub.
Earlham Park is a designated historic park and the site is part of a conservation area. The proposed development therefore should fully respect both the setting of Earlham Hall and its historic parkland landscape. Earlham Hall and its outbuildings must be renovated sensitively and new buildings to the east must be carefully designed to enhance the listed building. Views of development from University Drive and from the park and the river valley beyond should be enhanced.
Earlham Park is also part of the Yare Valley green infrastructure corridor. Therefore the design of development should both retain existing trees on site, and create additional habitat links to the park. Sustainable drainage solutions will need to take account of the presence of protected habitats in the valley to the west of the site and within the site allocation area. Assessment will also be required of any archaeology interest which may remain.
As a result high quality, environmentally sensitive development is required.
A contamination assessment and appropriate mitigation will be necessary and the development should be linked to the existing university district heating network. Alternative means of energy provision or reductions will be considered where these would not create adverse design, ecology or operational impacts.
Since the site is over 1ha, a flood risk assessment is required and appropriate mitigation measures should be provided as part of the development.
Road access to the site will be through use of the existing access from University Drive. No new on-site parking will be created and parking requirements will be reviewed to ensure management of parking within the area to reduce any adverse impacts. Any minimal parking and servicing agreed necessary will be designed to minimise site impacts and maximise opportunities to share such facilities. Additional pedestrian and cycle links will be provided to the university campus, including the local cycle network and University Drive and the strategic cycle network at Cow Drive / Chancellor’s Drive.
As well as the above, development will take account of:
- the Earlham Hall Guidance Note produced and endorsed by the council in 2010;
- the Development Framework Strategy produced by UEA and endorsed by the council in 2010;
- the Earlham Hall area Vision and Development Document produced by UEA and endorsed by the council in October 2011.
The site has full planning permission for the Norwich Research Park Enterprise Centre including business, research and educational uses (3,703sqm). In addition, outline planning permission has been granted for further buildings for business, research and educational uses.
The site is owned by UEA and is suitable and available for development.
POLICY R39: Earlham Hall – business development
Earlham Hall and neighbouring land to its east are allocated for business use, including a new exemplary low carbon building.
The development will:
- sensitively upgrade Earlham Hall for educational uses and neighbouring listed buildings for education, business and ancillary uses;
- provide high quality, environmentally sensitive new buildings (approximately 7,000 square metres) in the former nursery garden and redundant glasshouse area for office, research and development and educational uses;
- provide an exemplary low carbon building (approximately 3,000 square metres) for office, research and development and educational uses on the former depot;
- respect and enhance setting of the parkland and the listed buildings;
- enhance biodiversity, creating links to the river valley;
- improve cycle and pedestrian links to the university campus, including links to the local and strategic cycle network;
- use existing road access from University Drive and create no additional parking;
- be linked to the university district heating network or as appropriate alternative on site facilities will be provided where these are considered to minimise impacts which might arise from connection to the existing network.