Ambitious plans to regenerate East Norwich into a new sustainable urban quarter for the city are set to reach a major milestone next week.
Norwich City Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve stage 1 or the ‘concept stage’ of the masterplan for East Norwich and agree to progress to stage 2, which is needed to further refine the plan, with a more detailed understanding of costings, infrastructure, viability, phasing and deliverability.
The East Norwich sites, comprising the Deal Ground, Utilities site and the Carrow Works site, present a transformational regeneration opportunity, which will benefit the city and the wider Greater Norwich area. Development of the area could deliver about 3,500 – 4,000 new homes and provide significant employment opportunities, potentially making it the largest development opportunity in the East of England.
The work is being led by the East Norwich Partnership, a public-private sector group, led by Norwich City Council and chaired by Councillor Mike Stonard. Funding, much of it from partners, is already committed to allow the work to progress to stage 2, with financial commitment to date for the masterplan standing at £675,000.
The Stage 1 masterplan has been developed based on a thorough understanding of the constraints of the site, infrastructure needs and future opportunities and reflects the findings of extensive public and stakeholder engagement.
Councillor Stonard said: “The regeneration of East Norwich presents a major opportunity for the city and surrounding area, offering new homes, jobs, better connections and the chance to boost Norwich’s status in the country as a whole.
“This work could not happen without strong partnership support, which has been instrumental to the success of the masterplan and shows the level of commitment from all involved to regenerating this area of the city.”
The masterplan also acknowledges the biggest challenges to be addressed in the area, which are flooding, a complex underground infrastructure, the neighbouring mainline railway line and associated activities and access to the sites.
The masterplan identifies three primary objectives for East Norwich including:
- celebrating Norwich’s waterfront to create vibrant new riverside environments and support water-based activities and enterprises
- connecting the city with the Broads, especially for walking and cycling
- making the most of the great historical significance of the site including Carrow Works which includes Carrow Abbey and many listed buildings.
A number of key infrastructure projects are identified in the stage 1 concept masterplan, which will be developed further in stage 2:
- Creation of new pedestrian and cycle connections linking the sites into the surrounding neighbourhoods, including new pedestrian and cycle bridges between Carrow Works and Geoffrey Watling Way and between Deal Ground and Whitlingham Country Park
- Roads through the site, with new bridges across the Yare and the Wensum
- Bus routes potentially through Carrow Works
- Social and community infrastructure including a two form entry primary school and appropriate community health provision
- New marinas, which could potentially include a boating marina on the Utilities side and a small leisure marina on the Deal Ground side
- Creation of a web of green spaces and public spaces within the sites
- Landscape, ecology and planting that could achieve biodiversity net gain across the sites
- A significant proportion of homes fronting onto open spaces and/or the water
- A land use strategy for mix of housing, employment, creative industries, community facilities, retail across the site, with highest buildings generally close to the River Wensum and an intention for low parking ratios
- The potential replacement of Trowse rail bridge, which will open up strategic rail connections
The development of the masterplan is one of eight projects receiving funding from the Towns Fund. This has paid for the purchase of Carrow House, a key site in East Norwich which will provide much needed office space for smaller and start-up businesses.
If agreed by the city council’s Cabinet next week, stage 2 of the masterplan is expected to be completed in spring 2022.