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.