Norwich, What happened to Generation Park?

There is a half-derelict and half industrial site close to Norwich City Centre that has laid dormant for many years. It sits within a stone's throw of the River Wensum and within a quick stride to the city centre and train station, yet the question remains that despite a lot of traction on a massive redevelopment, why is site still unused?

First developed in the 1920s as a coal plant and laid derelict after the power station's demolition in the 1990s alongside a later added gas turbine plant from the 1960s. For the last few years, an asphalt factory has occupied half the site. The site sits on the outskirts of the city centre and has been subject to the proposal of a massive redevelopment in 2015 with a vast press coverage, however, has since faded without a solid given reason for the halt.

The site was subject to a £370million investment plan with backers such as the UEA and E.ON alongside a host of unnamed investors, the project named 'Generation Park'. The proposal gained major traction from many public figures in Norwich, including City College Norwich, Norwich University of the Arts, the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce and Wild Norfolk. Generation Park would hold 700 students in eco-friendly housing, create over 500 jobs and use the site that for over ten years has been earmarked by the City Council as use for energy development.

 A potential view of what the project may have looked like.

A potential view of what the project may have looked like.

A 90 metre chimney is very recognisable to the project alongside greenery and the relation to eco-friendly energy production, however, the public responded with accusations the factory would not be 100% green and would provide pollution to surrounding houses and crops despite the process stating 'the proposal would not result in any significant impacts on local air quality'. The power plant would burn straw that would not be used in local farming and would be brought in by train to reduce carbon miles.

Since Generation gained momentum in late 2014 the project has since wained and it appears all efforts towards the development have ceased. A twitter account run by Norwich Powerhouse, the company tasked with overseeing the project through the planning stage, has since stopped, running from January - August 2015. The planning entry was withdrawn on 22 July 2016, however, no further application has been entered, the current status of the appeal of the withdrawal is labelled as 'unknown' on the council planning page.

 Google Maps compared with the scheme's aerial plans viewable here: http://www.generationparknorwich.com/future.php

Google Maps compared with the scheme's aerial plans viewable here: http://www.generationparknorwich.com/future.php

It is presumed that the project has died, with the EDP stating that Norwich Powerhouse was creating an arrangement to pay back all the investors that had become a part, however, the project was reported as severely lacking in funds. Which may come as a result of public opinion, being described as 'being very far away from the concept of clean energy'. Overall the planning application received 325 objections from the public, relating to the use of biomass power sources, particularly these sources being labelled as sustainable.

So it seems the site will lay dormant until further notice, with the site having both major limitations of accessibility and ground pollution, and a lot of potential in its location and status through the council, we will wait to see what is in store for the disused industrial site.