Weston Homes has said it will fight Robert Jenrick’s decision to refuse planning permission for the £271m Anglia Square redevelopment in Norwich
Weston Homes has been informed by Norwich City Council that housing minister, Robert Jenrick, has overturned local democracy and directed the council to refuse planning permission for the Anglia Square redevelopment.
Weston Homes is currently taking the highest legal advice available with a view to applying to the High Court asking for a Statutory Review under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.
Weston Homes says it is “extremely disappointed in the secretary of state Robert Jenrick’s decision which goes against both the local democratic decision made by the city council to go ahead with the development as well as the planning inspector’s recommendation to approve the scheme following an extensive and costly public inquiry.”
The Anglia Square redevelopment project would provide just over 1,200 new homes, including a 20-storey tower, hotel, cinema, new shops, enhanced public realm and car park,
The initial proposals were amended to lower the height of the proposed tower, with more amenities added and the public realm enhanced throughout, along with a major upgrade to a section of the city’s cycle network.
‘Undemocratic and commercially unjustified’ decision
Bob Weston, chairman & chief executive of Weston Homes, said: “We intend to fight Robert Jenrick’s ‘undemocratic and commercially unjustified’ decision in the High Court and seek to get his ruling overturned.
“The secretary of state has gone against local democracy and the recommendations of a public inquiry, choosing to side with the NIMBY brigade who would rather see Norwich City Centre die than support a future for the city’s economy.”
Weston commented: “How does our prime minister Boris Johnson who is very vocal that housebuilders need to ‘build, build, build’ in order to hit the government’s housing delivery target of 300,000 homes justify his housing ministers’ anti-urban-renewal and anti-housebuilder descision?
“I thought our PM liked to position himself as ‘Boz-the-Builder’, instead his short-sighted housing minister is setting the PM up as the enemy of the housebuilding industry.
“The message it sends out to all housebuilders is – ‘don’t invest, don’t make planning applications, don’t plan for the future because this Conservative Government doesn’t support housing or the economy.”
Weston added: “At a time of extreme economic hardship and Norwich on the edge of a deep recession the secretary of state has chosen to refuse a massive investment opportunity for the city.
“The decision also flies-in-the-face of Government policy on housing delivery and encouraging brownfield-land regeneration in order to protect the greenbelt.”
‘Committed to Anglia Square’
He concluded: “Weston Homes remains totally committed to Anglia Square.
“We have invested a huge amount of time and effort to prepare these proposals and we have also continuously listened to comments on the scheme.
“We substantially revised our plans for Anglia Square in order to respond to feedback provided by the council, the public, statutory consultees, and local stakeholders.
“Weston Homes is a highly successful housebuilder of over 30 years standing and we have the track record and financial stature to deliver on our proposals.”