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Planning Submitted for Renovated Retail Spaces and Student Housing in Norwich City Centre

Planning Submitted for Renovated Retail Spaces and Student Housing in Norwich City Centre

Benchmark Architects have submitted an application for full planning permission to Norwich City Council for the redevelopment of the former Debenhams store in Norwich city centre.

The development will create 1478 sqm of prime retail space, 405 bed purpose-built student accommodation (PBSA), and associated ancillary spaces including refuse, cycle, and plant space.

The PBSA bedrooms include self-contained studios with kitchenettes and ensuites, as well as cluster flats with ensuite bedrooms, and shared kitchen/living/dining room spaces.

The building has a high level of both internal and external amenities for students. Internal amenities include study areas, coffee points, social seating, and activity zones. There is a bookable dining room and sky lounge next to the roof terrace which provides stunning views of Norwich City centre. Mark Doohan, Managing Director says, “It is an unrivalled location with exceptional living accommodation and student facilities.”

The building has been designed with great care to ensure that whilst it is new, strong design references are made to the surrounding streetscape. The building facades have been crafted to reflect the surrounding existing buildings in terms of proportion, materials, and scale, enhanced with contemporary architectural detailing and high energy performance. There are also green roofs, light wells and terraces across the development which significantly increase biodiversity making a positive contribution to the city.

The design, layout and quality of the building has been developed through a collaborative process with Norwich City Council, under their Planning Performance Agreement process and has resulted in this exciting application.

Mark Doohan commented, “Whilst department stores are in decline, this redevelopment proposes a refreshed street-level retail offer for Norwich. It will positively contribute to the heart of this vibrant city with new retail spaces and much-needed safe residential accommodation for Norwich's growing student population freeing up housing stock for local people”.

24 January 2024

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