Our objective is to work with people in Norwich and Norfolk to transform a derelict, inaccessible site into a beacon for green energy and sustainable living. The £370 million scheme, requiring no support from council tax payers, would be created on riverside land which has been a gateway for energy supplies and production for almost a century.
The community nature of energy generation, and its use, would draw on European models, but the way in which the whole scheme could be interlinked is unique and forward-looking in order to:
The 30-acre site, adjacent to the Crown Point rail depot, has been earmarked for energy redevelopment for a decade, originally as part of the 2004 Norwich Local Plan.
The continuity of planning policy around decentralised renewable energy continued in successive public planning policy documents and was reaffirmed in the latest Norwich Local Plan, adopted December 2014. It is an ideal location for the type of wider development now being proposed.
Links to fill strategic gaps in the greater Norwich cycle and pedestrian pathways would be forged by new bridges, transforming pedestrian and cycle access, supported by the national cycle campaign group Sustrans. A river taxi stop will also be provided as well as private and temporary moorings.
There would be stunning new riverside locations, a cafe and outdoor seating, plus other community friendly features such as an open air performance area and an eco-fen area with allotments – all to be shaped by local people.
The heartbeat of the site would be a new clean, green, Community Energy Centre fuelled by surplus straw, provided by UK farmers which will be pelletised and transported to Norwich by rail. The Community Energy Centre would produce energy in the form of power (electricity) and heat. The heat would be supplied to homes and businesses in the city via a district heating scheme to be developed by energy company E.ON. The electricity would be supplied to the National Grid and directly to major consumers in the city.
The electricity generated would be equivalent to that consumed by around 88,000 homes – more than the total number of households in Norwich – a welcome boost at a time when we are being increasingly warned by the utilities companies and government about the security of power supplies.
The Education Centre, designed to be stimulating, interactive and fun, would be open to all. It would tell the story about energy, its impact and the way we use it. A new Energy Research and Development Centre would be led by UEA, internationally renowned for its work on climate and environmental change. UEA would partner City College Norwich and others in skills training, helping to equip and prepare local youngsters for jobs of the future.
The proposal also features around 120 exemplar low carbon new homes, including one third affordable, and over high quality low carbon accommodation for over 700 students in an initiative involving UEA, City College Norwich and the Norwich University of the Arts working together to tackle the student housing shortage in Norwich. This will support the growth and development of the City’s higher education centres, all major drivers of the local economy.
Over 500 news jobs will be created in peak construction with over 100 direct permanent jobs created at operational phase. Secondary employment will also be stimulated and jobs would be protected by improving the reliability of energy supplies to key employers in the city. As the energy centre continues to operate it is expected to attract more interest in Norwich as a ‘go-to’ location for sustainable energy and low carbon companies as well as attracting companies looking for low carbon energy.
City College Norwich
"Generation Park Norwich will be a landmark project for our city and we are truly excited to be part of it. It will afford the young people of Norwich and the wider county the opportunity to develop world-leading skills within an inspirational development that will stimulate innovation and contribute to the sustainability of our environment. City College Norwich students will have the opportunity to benefit from first class student accommodation, futuristic learning environments and the wider skills, jobs and employment opportunities that such a significant project will bring. "
Professor John Last
Norwich University of the Arts
"Universities such as NUA & UEA are all about innovation, new ideas and research. This exciting project is ambitious both in itself and for Norwich and NUA welcomes and supports it."
Historically, the Utilities Sites was an energy gateway for Norwich; a gateway belonging to the last century. Working together, we can make this an energy gateway to the future for Norwich.