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Location

The 30-acre Utilities Site is close to the city centre, adjacent to the Crown Point rail depot. It sits on the north bank of the River Wensum, near the point where it merges with the River Yare. The railway and the Yare were important modes of transport for the power stations which used to operate on the site.

This brownfield site has been largely derelict for the last 15 years except for electrical transmission equipment, evidenced by the imposing twin pylons which can be seen from various locations around Norwich.

The proposal will regenerate the area for the citizens of Norwich, harking back to the site's heritage of electrical generation and gas supply, by building a clean, green Community Energy Centre producing electricity and district heating, serviced by the railway.

 

This time, however, the Community Energy Centre will occupy only a fraction of the land area, hence offering the potential for most of the site to be released for the benefit of the citizens of Norwich.

The opening up of the site will allow important strategic links to be made in the cycle way and footpath networks in and around the city. A large area will be devoted to parkland and the enjoyment of natural elements of the riverside.

The proposal includes, for the first time in its history, residential use, with plans for 120 low carbon homes, a third of them affordable, along with accommodation for over 700 students from UEA, NUA and City College Norwich.

The proposed uses also feature a new Education Centre, riverside mooring and a range of activities and facilities, including riverside vistas and an open performance area, which will enable local people to benefit from a potentially valuable community location which has remained redundant for many years.

Directly to the south of the Utilities Site, on the other side of the river, the Deal Ground comprises is a 35-acre site earmarked for residential development of around 700 homes.

This is an entirely separate development to the Utilities Site, but there will be close collaboration with the Deal Ground developers, planning authorities and the local community to ensure the two sites are as joined up as possible in terms of appropriate access and the provision of energy. The plans include a new vehicle, pedestrian and cycle bridge linking the two sites across the river Wensum. This will be a swing bridge in order to allow the continued use of the river for Wherries and other taller boats.

A proposed powerhouse for innovation, ideas and community engagement

Professor Trevor Davies
University of East Anglia

 

"This is an exciting scheme for Norwich and the wider community, and the University of East Anglia feels privileged to have played a part in the proposal this far, and is hugely enthusiastic about what this could mean for Norwich.

"Although it will attract international attention and raise Norwich’s profile around the world, this is first and foremost a community project for the city, and so we look forward to the process of consultation over the coming months.

"We see the scheme as a combination of tried and tested energy generation and a powerhouse for innovation, ideas and community engagement around some of the biggest inter-linked challenges facing us all: climate and environmental change and energy supply. To my mind, one of the most interesting aspects is how it can provide a focus for co-operation and collaboration in how to seek solutions in a joined-up way.

"I have been encouraged by conversations we have had with City College Norwich and the Norwich University of the Arts on the telling contributions they can make. We want to explore how connections can be made with schools and academies through the two-way knowledge hub that the Education Centre will become.

"These uses for the site would position Norwich well for the future, and NPH and our partners will be doing our best over the period up to the planning application and beyond to encourage the involvement of as many organisations and groupings as possible. "

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