The East Norwich Strategic Regeneration Area (ESRA) consists of three brownfield regeneration sites by the rivers Wensum and Yare. These are Carrow Works, the Deal Ground and the Utilities Site. The ESRA also includes land in front of ATB Laurence Scott fronting the Wensum, (linking to allocation CC16 (Land adjoining Norwich City Football Club north and east of Geoffrey Watling Way)) which is considered essential for the delivery of sustainable transport links to the three sites. The overall area is defined on map 9 of the Greater Norwich Local Plan and the three regeneration sites are allocated under this site allocations policy.
East Norwich Strategic Regeneration Area has the potential in the medium to long-term to create a new urban quarter for Norwich, to act as a catalyst for additional regeneration in neighbouring urban areas and to contribute significantly to growth of the Greater Norwich economy. A new partnership has been established - the East Norwich Partnership – to steer preparation of a masterplan for this area that will unlock development on these sites and deliver sustainable regeneration. The partnership is led by Norwich City Council with representation from key public and private sector partners including Homes England, Network Rail, and the landowners of the three sites.
To ensure growth is co-ordinated, overcomes local constraints and is well-designed in this particularly sensitive location, policy 7.1 of the Greater Norwich Local Plan requires regeneration to be guided by an area-wide masterplan supplementary planning document. Development is contingent on the provision of economic (e.g. highway network, bridges and utilities) and social infrastructure (e.g. schools, community facilities and recreational spaces) at a scale to support sustainable growth across the ESRA. The masterplan will promote development of a high density sustainable mixed-use community, co-ordinate delivery of new transport infrastructure and services, enhance green spaces and links, provide for a local energy network, enhance heritage assets, protect Carrow Abbey County Wildlife Site and address local issues including the active railway, the protected minerals railhead and flood risk issues. Development across the three sites will provide in the region of 4,000 homes in the plan period and up to 6,000 new jobs.
The Deal Ground and Utilities site are allocated in the adopted Norwich Site Allocation and Site-Specific Policies Plan (2014); however the release of the Carrow Works site for development presents the opportunity to strategically address the challenges and opportunities of all three sites. Unlocking the full development potential of the sites relies upon addressing constraints and, in particular, requires the provision of common infrastructure to serve all the sites, which will enable sustainable growth to be delivered in this location. This should achieve improved integration of the ESRA sites in terms of social, economic and green infrastructure. There is also the potential for a new access route into the Deal Ground from the Carrow Works site passing under the rail line, which is due for upgrading in conjunction with the potential replacement of Trowse Swing Bridge. Viability and deliverability are key considerations in the delivery of the regeneration project and individual proposals capable of delivery will not be allowed to prejudice the comprehensive sustainable development of the east Norwich area as a whole. Development will need to be carried out in accordance with any phasing plans agreed through the masterplanning process.
Key development considerations and constraints across the East Norwich Strategy Regeneration area are:
- There is a need for substantial new transport infrastructure to provide connectivity and permeability within and between the sites in the East Norwich Strategic Regeneration Area and beyond, including north-south links between Trowse and Bracondale and the north bank of the Wensum and Thorpe Road/Yarmouth Road, and east-west links between the city centre, the railway station and Whitlingham Country Park and the Broads including an extended riverside walk on the north and south banks of the Wensum. The ESRA masterplan will include an integrated access and transportation strategy which will identify new routes, river crossings and network improvements. It is anticipated that this strategy will include, but not be limited to, the SA Plan policy requirement for a new all-purpose road access from Bracondale to the Deal Ground via a bridge over the River Yare, and a new bridge over the River Wensum to at the minimum provide cycle, pedestrian links and emergency vehicle access, north to the Utilities site, and cycle and pedestrian links along the river corridor linking to Carrow Works and to the Broads. Any new bridge or bridges must be designed to meet navigation requirements for the River Wensum and provide river moorings and de-masting facilities. The integrated access and transportation strategy must have an emphasis on sustainable accessibility and traffic restraint.
- There is a need to manage the transport impact of the development on the strategic and local highway network, including the Martineau Lane roundabout, Bracondale and King Street and on the nearby village of Trowse. A low car environment will be promoted, supported by an excellent walking and cycling network and access to public transport.
- Development will be required to provide area-wide environmental, economic and social infrastructure and services in a co-ordinated manner in order to support the level of growth proposed.
- There will be a need for development to address and mitigate potential environmental impacts from adjacent uses and activities and ensure that new development will not compromise their continued operation. Relevant issues include the impact of the railway, the Crown Point Train Maintenance Depot, the aggregate depot minerals operations and the sewage treatment works.
- Prior to development there will be a need to address and remediate site contamination and remove redundant utilities infrastructure from previous industrial uses.
- Development must protect and enhance key areas of landscape and biodiversity value, green infrastructure assets, corridors and open spaces within the area, including enhancing linkages from the city centre to the Broads, Whitlingham Country Park, Carrow Abbey County Wildlife Site, the wider rural area and elsewhere in Norwich. Development must demonstrate the means to retain and maintain these assets in perpetuity.
- The East Norwich Regeneration Area is situated within Trowse Millgate Conservation Area and Bracondale Conservation Area and there are a high concentration of heritage assets in and adjacent to the sites. Development must have regard to the character and appearance of the conservation areas and protect and enhance the sites’ heritage assets and their settings including long views from, into and across the sites. Development must be of appropriate scale, form and massing, informed through the coordinated masterplanning process. There is also potentially significant archaeological interest from early settlement around the confluence of the Rivers Wensum and Yare which will require further site investigation prior to development.
- Development will need to be of a high-quality exemplar, energy efficient design which builds at high densities and maximises the riverside regeneration potential whilst acknowledging the sensitive location at the confluence of two rivers forming the eastern approach to Norwich. The design and form of development must acknowledge the proximity of Whitlingham Country Park, and the village of Trowse, take account of its setting adjacent to the Broads and manage the potential impact on long views toward and away from the urban edge.
- The East Norwich Strategic Regeneration Area falls within flood zones 1, 2 and 3 and therefore site-specific flood risk assessments must be undertaken prior to development in order to identify risks from river and surface water flooding. Development will need to be flood resilient and provide appropriate flood mitigation measures. Parts of the sites are within the flood plain of the River Yare and any development on the floodplain would compromise the natural functioning of the river and the Water Framework Directive no deterioration objective. There should therefore be a significant buffer between the development and the flood plain. Any sensitive development of sections of this land parcel outside of the flood plain should also restore natural habitats within the flood plain.
- Development should make appropriate provision for sustainable drainage. SuDS within the development must be sufficient to protect the water quality of the River Wensum and River Yare and any opportunities to improve riparian habitat to mitigate against the impacts of the development would help to secure improvements necessary to meet good Water Framework Directive status and help ensure that the development does not cause any deterioration.
- Development should address the Broads Authority’s navigational requirements given that the River Wensum (up to New Mills) forms part of the Broads network. Consideration should be given to allowing greater use of the Rivers Wensum and Yare for water-based recreation, leisure and tourism including the potential inclusion of marinas and riverside moorings and access for waterborne freight subject to not impeding navigation of either river. It also forms a significant corridor for wildlife.