The Generation Park Norwich team is pleased to announce that planning applications for the transformation of the 30-acre Utilities Site have officially been submitted to Norwich City Council, the Broads Authority and South Norfolk Council for their consideration. After over a decade in the making, the whole team is thrilled to have driven the proposal to this milestone stage.
The Generation Park scheme is focused on the regeneration of the long-derelict brownfield Utilities Site to the south-east of the city centre into an exciting mixed use development based around renewable energy generation, education, commerce and sustainable living, all set within a riverside parkland environment and featuring widespread public access and new transport linkages. The project will deliver the City Council’s and Broads Authority’s long term objectives for the site as set out in their respective Local Plans. Located on a site historically used for energy generation, this is a pioneering project which would place Norwich and the East of England at the forefront of delivering development which tackles the twin challenges of community energy generation and climate change.
Professor Kevin Hiscock, Head of the School of Environmental Sciences at the UEA comments, “The submission of the Generation Park Norwich planning application is an important occasion for the School of Environmental Sciences. The School has long been a centre of international research excellence in climate science, carbon budgets, environmental pollution, and integrated sustainability and it is fitting that the idea originated here. We have continued to support and help develop the original concept and are excited at the possibility of it happening. It would be an exemplar of real-world action in Norwich in the crucial areas of lower-carbon and secure energy, environmental leadership, and shifting to a more sustainable balance between human activity and the environment. Should the application be successful, we shall continue to support the realisation of the whole scheme and look forward to playing our substantial part in the research, training and awareness-raising activities on Generation Park. We shall also, together with the rest of our community in Norwich, relish enjoying what would be a major asset and amenity for the city”.
The proposal features a Community Energy Centre, fuelled by renewable straw pellets, a by-product of food production, with all the fuel being delivered to the site by train. The project is specifically located within Norwich to provide energy to a new District Heating Network which will provide lower cost, lower carbon energy for homes and businesses in the City. The Park will also consist of an education centre, accommodation for 717 students from UEA, NUA and City College Norwich, 120 low carbon homes (33% of which will be affordable housing), 11 acres of parkland, riverside moorings, nearly 1km of cycleways, and a global research centre - led by UEA - researching and developing the next generation on sustainable fuels for the next 30 years. The dedicated cycle paths and walkways will provide key links in Norwich’s existing network and the attractive riverside setting will be home to independent riverside vistas, cafes and retails units, as well as play areas, leisure facilities and an outdoor performance area. The community will be able to enjoy this revitalised part of the city for generations to come as we plan to make this unloved site creative, vibrant space.
This £370 million investment will create in excess of 500 jobs during peak construction activity, as well as the opportunity for local business to supply the project directly. Once operational, there will be in excess of 100 jobs on site, as well as secondary employment opportunities created elsewhere. Generation Park will boost the local economy, make Norwich the go-to centre for renewable energy technology and will cement the city as dynamic and forward-thinking force to do business with.
At the heart of this scheme is the District Heating Network, to be run by energy company E.ON, which is designed to help stabilise energy prices by cutting heating and hot water costs and increasing energy security. By generating power and also harnessing the associated heat as hot water, the Generation Park Community Energy Centre will be over 80% efficient, compared to around 38-55% for conventional power, thus reinforcing Norwich’s green credentials.
The straw-fuelled Community Energy Centre will provide the city with its own source of renewable, sustainable and lower cost energy that aims to reduce its carbon footprint from electricity alone by 22%. It will provide enough power to meet the electricity needs of 88,000 homes at a time when there are concerns for the reliability and security of the nation’s electricity supply. The long-term supply of straw is secured through Generation Park’s sister company, Pelco, who will source, pellet and transport the fuel to the site by train from a number of sites nationwide.
Due to the sheer scale and complexity of the proposal, we are anticipating that the planning applications will not be determined until late in the year. All of the authorities will now formally advertise the applications and invite comments from the public, which will be given due consideration in their determination process.
The planning application can be viewed on Norwich City Councils’ website here: http://planning.norwich.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=NR7UPOLX0J300