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CABE condemns Benoy's 'alien' in Norwich

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CABE has called on Norwich City Council to refuse planning permission for Benoy's St Anne's Wharf scheme on the city's riverfront.

The commission's Design Review Committee described the mixed-use regeneration development - for 415 residential units and 3,000m2 of retail space - as 'alien to Norwich', adding it was 'not convinced the proposal will relate well to the wider setting'. The report calls on Benoy to employ a landscape architect and to engage other architects to design buildings within the development, saying it would benefit from 'the involvement of other practices'.

It adds: 'Further work is needed on the detailed urban strategy, to identify those areas where activity is expected and at what time of day.'

It continues: 'We think it would be appropriate to suppress some areas of the scheme and express others with greater height.'

'Most of our comments relate to the fundamental urban design issues rather than the quality of the architecture, ' the report adds. 'We see little point in discussing the wider details of the buildings, their elevations, materials or colour until wider concerns are addressed.'

However, Benoy project director Nick Coyne welcomed CABE's 'positive criticism'. 'We are trying to work with our clients and the planners to avoid it being turned down, ' he said. 'The design review process was very positive.'

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