The Deal Ground comprises an extensive area of disused former industrial land and buildings on the south-eastern fringe of Norwich situated between the main Norwich-London rail line and the confluence of the rivers Wensum and Yare. The majority of the site has been tipped to raise its level: the lower lying eastern edge of the site adjoining the River Yare (including Carrow Abbey Marsh) falls within the river valley and is largely rural in character. Adjoining the site to the west is an operational minerals railhead and asphalt plant, situated alongside the railway. This railhead site is safeguarded under policy CS16 in the adopted Minerals and Waste Core Strategy (September 2011). The railhead currently receives the majority of crushed rock delivered for Norfolk. It benefits from deemed consent and is not subject to any restrictions to operating hours, noise limits etc. The asphalt plant has the benefit of permanent planning permission (ref C/4/2010/4003), which contains conditions regarding noise limits, operational hours etc.
Vehicular access to the Deal Ground is currently taken from the south from Bracondale using an indirect and substandard route adjacent to Trowse Pumping Station. Further to the east, beyond the city boundary, are Whitlingham Country Park and the open river valley landscape beyond, which is within the Broads National Park.
The Deal Ground extends partly into South Norfolk. The area at the extreme eastern end of the site at the confluence of the two rivers falls within that district and accommodates Carrow Yacht Club. The area within Norwich which is allocated for development in this plan excludes the eastern half which will remain protected as part of the river valley and county wildlife site designation around the marsh. The site contains the grade II listed Bottle Kiln. The allocated development area extends to approximately 8.1 hectares.
Any planning applications for the Deal Ground site may need to include, or be accompanied by, an application for bridges over the River Yare connecting to the May Gurney site in South Norfolk. The land to the south of the site – the former May Gurney site – is currently in the same ownership as the Deal Ground; any application on this land will likely be determined by South Norfolk council. Any bridges over the Wensum would require applications to both Norwich City council for the bridge footings and to the Broads Authority for the bridge span.
To the north of the Deal Ground, on the far side of the River Wensum is the Utilities site which is allocated for mixed use development in this plan under policy R10.
The JCS identifies east Norwich (the city centre to the Deal Ground/ Utilities sites) for major physical regeneration providing opportunities for mixed use development and enhanced green linkages from the city centre to the Broads.
The Deal Ground is one of three adjoining and closely related strategic regeneration sites in east Norwich, the other two being the Utilities site on the north bank of the Wensum (R10 in this plan) and the May Gurney site on the south east bank of the Yare (in South Norfolk District) which is intended to provide the principal road access into the site via a new river bridge. The development of these three “gateway” sites needs to be approached comprehensively and carefully coordinated in order to overcome significant constraints, maximise the sites’ potential for sustainable economic and physical regeneration and integrate and link them effectively with the surrounding area.
The Deal Ground has been identified for many years as a strategic priority for regeneration, initially allocated in both the City of Norwich local plan 1995 and the City of Norwich replacement local plan 2004 mainly for employment purposes, although limited housing was anticipated in the 2004 Replacement local plan along the northern part of the site. In recognition of the strategic importance of both the Deal and Utilities sites and their potential for mixed use regeneration of east Norwich, an initial options appraisal was undertaken in 2007. The appraisal set out principles and opportunities for development and took account of a number of detailed evidence studies and the results of public consultation. The government-funded evidence studies prepared alongside and subsequent to the Appraisal included a flood risk assessment, a sustainability appraisal, a contaminated land (stage 1) desktop study, a transportation assessment, an ecological study, a high level archaeological review, a report on title, and a viability review (although these are dated in some respects).
A pre-application planning advice note was produced to provide guidance for potential developers of the Deal Ground and/or Utilities sites prior to adoption of this local plan. This was prepared jointly by Norwich City council, Norfolk County Council in its capacity as the highway authority, South Norfolk Council and the Broads Authority, and was published in 2009 and updated in August 2010. This officer level guidance note brought together former planning policies, guidance, and evidence studies, and has helped inform the development of this policy.
Viability and deliverability are key considerations in the delivery of the regeneration project and individual proposals capable of delivery will not be allowed to prejudice the comprehensive sustainable development of the east Norwich area as a whole.
A revised outline planning application (reference 12/00875/O) for the redevelopment of the Deal Ground and adjacent May Gurney site was submitted to the three relevant planning authorities (South Norfolk and the Broads Authority in addition to the City council) in April 2012. This application was granted outline permission on 12 July 2013, with all matters reserved except access. This proposes a maximum of 670 dwellings (76 of which would be on the May Gurney site and the remainder on the Deal Ground) and a local centre with commercial uses on the May Gurney site. The applications illustrated a need for any scheme of this size to be able to provide a principal access through the May Gurney site with pedestrian/cycle/vehicular bridge over the River Yare, and a new bridge for pedestrian cycle and emergency vehicular use over the River Wensum to provide connection to the city centre via the Riverside area and the riverside walk extension, eventually also linking to Whitlingham Country Park as a strategic cycle route. Any bridge over the Wensum should demonstrate feasible linkages to the Utilities site.
The site has potential to deliver a new section of the “purple route”; the outer orbital cycle route forming part of the strategic cycle network. The cycle route should be expanded primarily via the Deal Ground to Whitlingham Country Park and the National Cycle Network route no.1. Whilst this may be initially via Trowse, proposals should also investigate direct links to the Whitlingham area from the east of the site.
Key development considerations and constraints are:
- Need for substantial new transport infrastructure to serve the site including a new all purpose road access from the south via a bridge over the River Yare, and a new bridge over the River Wensum to provide cycle, emergency and pedestrian links, north to the Utilities site, and cycle and pedestrian links east-west along the river corridor.
- Any new bridge or bridges should allow adequate clearance for river craft and provide river moorings and de-masting points along the River Wensum.
- Need to manage the transport impact of the development on the strategic highway network and on the nearby village of Trowse, and provide for sustainable accessibility by modes other than the car. In particular the development must provide for access to public transport, and enable a link through from the Deal Ground to the Riverside area and the railway station.
- Need to address and mitigate potential environmental impacts from adjacent uses and activities and ensure that new development will not compromise their continued operation. Relevant issues include the impact of noise from the railway, dust from the aggregate depot minerals operations and odour nuisance from the Britvic factory to the west and the sewage treatment works to the east.
- Need to address and remediate site contamination and remove redundant utilities infrastructure from previous industrial uses.
- Need to respect, promote and enhance the key areas of landscape and biodiversity value adjoining the River Yare, in particular the established County Wildlife Site and protected woodland, and demonstrate means to retain and maintain these assets in perpetuity.
- Need to respect and enhance the setting of the designated heritage assets within and adjoining the site: including the grade II listed brick “bottle kiln” in the north part and Trowse Pumping Station within Trowse Millgate Conservation Area to the south. Development must preserve and enhance the character and appearance of the adjacent conservation area, and be of appropriate scale, form and massing. There is also potentially significant archaeological interest from early settlement around the confluence of the Rivers Wensum and Yare which will require further site investigation prior to development. Development must be designed to respect and preserve the city’s heritage assets in long views from, into and across the site;
- Need to address and mitigate flood risk: parts of the site are in Flood Zone 3 and the remainder are in Flood Zone 2. A flood risk assessment must be undertaken prior to development and appropriate flood mitigation measures provided.
- Development should make appropriate provision for sustainable drainage;
- Need for high quality design and sensitivity in the overall form and configuration of development: the site occupies a prominent position at the confluence of two rivers forming the eastern approach to Norwich; the form of development needs to respect its riverside setting, acknowledge the proximity of Whitlingham Country Park and the village of Trowse, and manage the potential impact on long views toward and away from the urban edge.
- The height and design of bridge should avoid compromising navigation.
- Need to demonstrate a strategy for removing overhead power lines.
This site lies adjacent to the River Wensum. A written consent from the Environment Agency is required for proposed works or structures, in, under, over or within 9 metres of the top of the bank of a designated ‘main river’. It is recommended that developers engage in early discussions with the Environment Agency.
Development needs to ensure that the water environment is protected. The site falls within Source Protection Zone 1, designated to protect water supplies, and therefore the water environment is particularly vulnerable in this location. Detailed discussions over this issue will be required with the Environment Agency to ensure that proposals are appropriate for the site and that the site is developed in a manner which protects the water environment.
The site is in single ownership and has planning permission for 670 dwellings. Delivery of a comprehensive development will require the close involvement and cooperation of adjoining site owners and constituent planning authorities to overcome identified constraints and mitigate the impacts.
POLICY R9: The Deal Ground – residential led mixed use development
The Deal Ground (8.1 hectares) is allocated for a major residential-led mixed use development to secure the beneficial, sustainable regeneration of this key gateway site on the eastern fringe of Norwich.
- be approached on a comprehensive basis as part of an overall scheme for the “river gateway” sites in east Norwich. Piecemeal development will not be acceptable and proposals for the Deal Ground should not prejudice the future development of the Utilities site or the wider regeneration of the east Norwich area;
- in particular, the development of this site is conditional on the resolution of access issues, including access to public transport and the riverside area and city centre via links across the Wensum to the Utilities site (R10), and via the May Gurney site to The Street;
- provide a mix of uses to include housing, small scale local employment, local shops and services and local community facilities, of a scale to serve the residents of the Deal Ground (and the May Gurney site as appropriate). The housing element could provide in the region of 600 dwellings, with a balanced mix of housing types across the scheme as a whole;
- provide local retail and community facilities limited to a scale appropriate to serve the immediate needs of the future residential population of the site only. Any local centre to be provided within the scheme (if in Norwich) will be subject to development management policies DM18 and DM21 to manage the scale and form of future development, with particular consideration given to siting and scale of development to avoid impacts on the city centre vitality and viability, and to avoid increases in traffic movements to and from the site;
- be planned as an exemplar development providing for high standards of design, energy efficiency and flood resilience (including addressing identified risks from fluvial and surface water flooding, providing for sustainable drainage;
- a noise assessment will be required. The development must be designed to mitigate and protect against potential sources of noise and air pollution from adjoining uses, including the industrial and minerals processing uses to the west;
- provide for sustainable accessibility and permeability through the site including
(a) a vehicular access road, most likely from the south through the adjacent May Gurney site, via a new bridge over the River Yare, which must be capable of servicing both the Deal and Utilities site;
(b) cycle routes integrating with and connecting to the existing strategic cycle network, a new bus route or routes and a network of attractive and walkable pedestrian routes providing for safe and convenient movement within and between proposed housing areas, retail and community facilities and along the frontages to the Rivers Yare and Wensum;
(c) a bridge connection over the River Wensum to link to the Utilities site, to cater for vehicular traffic including cycles, emergency vehicles, and potentially buses. This should be in place prior to any substantial development of the site; and
(d) access through the site to the Carrow Yacht Club, so long as it is operational.
- establish a strong frontage to the northern edge of the site alongside the River Wensum. Development in this part of the site may include marinas, public moorings and/or private moorings serving new residential development and opportunities for water based leisure and recreation;
- protect, retain and enhance the wooded landscape character and wildlife and biodiversity interest of the eastern fringe of the site around Carrow Abbey Marsh, and provide for opportunities for formal and informal recreation;
- provide a network of green infrastructure throughout the site including areas of formal and informal open space and playspace to serve new residential areas;
- seek to maximise the use of renewable and low carbon energy sources, which must include the provision of district wide heating and CHP;
- conserve and enhance the heritage and archaeological significance of the site and surrounding area (including the retention of listed structures and the provision of appropriate heritage interpretation within the scheme) in accordance with development management policy DM9;
- preserve the open character of the Yare Valley, the fringe of the Broads and the rural areas to the south and east, and maintain strategic long views through and beyond the development site; and
- treat contamination arising from former uses on the site.