A special ground-breaking ceremony has taken place to celebrate the inception of a new student housing and community development set to revitalise the area around Norwich bus station.
Brenda Arthur, Leader of Norwich Council, wielded the spade on the site of the Brazen Gate, part of Norwich’s historic city wall, attended by representatives from the project’s student housing specialists, Alumno Developments, the main contractor, Morgan Sindall, architects, Carson & Partners and Norwich University of the Arts whose students will occupy this exciting new building.
The All Saints Green development will be a huge improvement on the vacant buildings it replaces and will provide a much brighter image of Norwich at this important entry point. By next summer, there will be new accommodation for 220 students alongside a renovated Grade II Listed Building at 50, All Saints Green, plus a new landscaped public square and community gardens.
Cllr Arthur commented: “I’m delighted that Alumno is delivering this development, which will bring students to the heart of the city. Students play a vital role in Norwich, keeping it young and vibrant, boosting our local economy, and enhancing our reputation as a world-class centre for education.
“It’s obvious from the plans that a lot of thought has gone into the new development – it will sit well in the surroundings and I am pleased that the existing listed building on the site will also benefit from the work.”
David Campbell, managing director of Alumno Developments, added: “We’re delighted to see this project coming to life. We think it will not only provide much needed student accommodation for the city, but will also help to regenerate the St Stephen’s area with the development of a new public square and gardens aimed at the whole community.”
Professor John Last, Vice-Chancellor of Norwich University of the Arts, said that “We are delighted that it is our students who will have exclusive occupancy of this exciting high quality development right in the heart of the city.”
Planning permission for the scheme was granted last year following close prior consultation between Alumno, specialists in developing student accommodation, and the City Council. Among the issues considered were the promotion of Norwich as a ‘learning city’; reinforcement of the vibrancy of the city centre through housing and education developments; regeneration in the St. Stephen’s area with a mixture of developments including new homes and improved public open spaces; and respecting and improving historic buildings.
Since its foundation in 2006, Alumno has worked with universities, colleges and other key stakeholders to provide homes for more than 2,000 students in London, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Bristol and Durham. It works closely with local authorities and residents to establish the impact of its developments on the community and aims to provide real community benefits in addition to affordable quality housing for students.