Many years work has gone into assessing the technical and commercial feasibility of the scheme. In addition to NPH, E.ON, Grimshaw and Axis, other experts from the UK and Europe have been involved. These include experts in energy engineering, electrical networks, transport, planning, ground contamination and site investigation, flooding, finance, ecology, agriculture, as well as land agents, legal practitioners and investment specialists.
The architects, engineers and transport specialists have confirmed all the components of the proposed scheme can be fitted in and serviced in functionally efficient ways. This sort of assessment is vital for us to be confident of the technical feasibility of the scheme. Boards presented at the second series of public consultations (held across May-June) show how the proposed use of the land has been informed by the existing infrastructure, power networks and their exclusion zones. This has led to a greater understanding of the site and to the establishment of a series of areas where development of aspects such as housing is possible.
The overall visual appearance of the development and the precise mix of activities and functions has been discussed with the local planning authorities and the Generation Park Norwich Team continues to invite comments to the planning applications. These are available to view on the Norwich City Council and the Broads Authority’s website.
The key illustrates the proposed uses of the space:
1. Southern Gateway with three student blocks
2. Fuel pellet delivery sidings and silos
3. Grid connection transformer area
4. Air cooled condenser
5. Combustion Energy Centre
6. Gasification Energy Centre
7. District heating resilience building
8. Energy Centre office, visitor and ancillary facilities
9. Research and Development Centre
10. Data Centre
11. Existing UKPN compound
12. Education Centre
13. Northern Gateway with two student blocks
14. Affordable residential
15. Market residential
Public vehicle access to the site would only be possible via a new swing bridge over the River Wensum, thus discouraging road traffic and ruling out the possibility of creating any form of ‘rat run’ from Thorpe Hamlet to Trowse. The swing bridge will open into Arrivals Square and lead to the Community Energy Centre service areas, past the Research and Eduction Centres, and through to the market residential where it would be possible to locate houses and apartments in a beautiful riverside fen of environment mirroring the Broadland surroundings of Whitlingham. The market residential element is a proposed 80 houses and the scheme also includes 40 affordable homes to the north of the Norwich-Great Yarmouth railway line. Some parking would be provided for residents, but it is hoped most would opt in to the minimal road vehicle approach to the development, taking advantage of a proposed car club.
There would be further accommodation in the shape of 717 student flats with two student accommodation blocks proposed for the Northern Gateway, and three blocks in the Southern Gateway built around Arrivals Square, the main welcome point for Generation Park Norwich. Besides this square is a proposed loggia covering an area of hard landscape fronted by café and retail units. This south-facing traffic-free environment would soon become an established riverside hub serving both students and the general public.
The hope for Generation Park Norwich is a living, breathing new mini village teaming with life and creativity built on the back of community energy.