Opposition grows over �300m Hub plan

OPPOSITION is mounting to controversial plans for a �300m conference and tourism complex in the heart of the Broads, with the Broads Authority and Norwich City Council the latest organisations to object to the scheme.

OPPOSITION is mounting to controversial plans for a �300m conference and tourism complex in the heart of the Broads, with the Broads Authority and Norwich City Council the latest organisations to object to the scheme.

Broads bosses question whether the Norfolk Hub development, which also includes housing, should be built so near protected wetlands, while city council chiefs say St Andrew's Hall in Norwich would be a better location for a new conference centre.

London architects have drawn up initial proposals for the development on land around Rackheath, Woodbastwick and Salhouse, but the proposals have sparking a major row in a community already facing the prospect of an eco-town and the north Norwich bypass on their doorstep.

The proposal was for 4.2sq km of land to be used for the complex, but the scheme has been downsized to 1.8sq km after Henry Cator, president of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, pulled his land from the scheme.


You may also want to watch:


Architects Wintersgill stress the scheme is only at the concept stage and has submitted a revised plan to Broadland District Council, which is consulting over the Joint Core Strategy, which will identify where thousands of homes can be built in the next two decades.

But Norwich City Council has registered its concerns, fearing the conference centre element of the project would threaten the proposal to transform St Andrew's Hall into a conference centre.

Most Read

The council has briefed Norwich Heritage Economic and Regeneration Trust (HEART) to lead a project to turn St Andrew's Hall into a �24m conference centre, although a bid for �7.5m of lottery cash failed earlier this year.

Feng Li, senior planner (policy) at City Hall, wrote: “The major conference scheme is not supported by the Greater Norwich Development Partnership conference facility needs study, which indicates that the best potential lies in a medium sized facility, best achieved by conversion of existing premises in the city centre.”

Andrea Long, director of planning and strategy at the Broads Authority, said: “We are aware this is at a very early stage, but we do not feel we can support it.

“The initial plan included some land which was within our area, which was clearly a concern to us. Then there was a scaled down version, which doesn't include our land, but it is very close to us.

“From what we can work out, it still remains the same amount of development, at a smaller site. There are concerns about whether it can be fit in that area.

“There's a lot of infrastructure connected to the concept, including a monorail and lots of car parking, and we wanted to put down a marker that we were concerned about the impact of all that on the Broads. That area will already see a lot of changes with the eco-town at Rackheath.

“We are not against development per se and we do want to promote tourism, but is this the right place for a conference and tourism centre which they say would be of national importance?”

Nobody from Wintersgill Architects was available to comment.

Information about the scheme can be found at Broadland District Council's website www.broadland.gov.uk under the dedicated pages for the Joint Core Strategy. Comments are invited by September 4.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter