Norwich | economy and infrastructure

Economy and infrastructure

The Royal Arcade, designed by George Skipper, opened in 1899.

Norwich's economy was historically manufacturing based, with a large shoemaking industry, but transitioned throughout the 1980s and 1990s to a service-based economy.[158]

The greater Norwich economy (which includes Norwich, Broadland and South Norfolk government districts) as measured by GVA was estimated at £7.4 billion in 2011 (2011 GVA at 2006 prices).[159] The city's largest employment sectors are business and financial services (31%), public services (26%), retail (12%), manufacturing (8%) and tourism (7%).[160] Unemployment in urban Norwich and the Norwich City Council area was 2.7% and 3.7% respectively in January 2014, compared to 3% across Great Britain.[161]

New developments on the former Boulton and Paul site include the Riverside entertainment complex with nightclubs and other venues featuring the usual national leisure brands. Nearby, the football stadium is being upgraded with more residential property development alongside the river Wensum.

Archant, formerly known as Eastern Counties Newspapers (ECN), is a national publishing group that has grown out of the city's local newspapers and is headquartered in Norwich.

Norwich has long been associated with the manufacture of mustard. The world-famous Colman's brand, with its yellow packaging, was founded in 1814 and operates from its factory at Carrow, although that site is due to close by the end of 2019.[162] Colman's is now exported worldwide by its parent company Unilever (Unilever UK Export), putting Norwich on the map of British heritage brands. The Colman's Mustard Shop, which sold Colman's products and related gifts, was, until 2017, located in the Royal Arcade in the centre of Norwich, but closed in that year without any prospect of it reopening elsewhere.[163]

To the south-west of the city is the Norwich Research Park, which as of 2012 is set to undergo a period of investment and expansion. The NRP comprises a community of research organisations with world-leading science credentials, including the Institute of Food Research and the John Innes Centre, as well as over 30 science and technology-based businesses, the University of East Anglia and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital.

Norwich's night-time economy of bars and night clubs is mainly located in Tombland, Prince of Wales Road and the Riverside area adjacent to Norwich railway station.

Retail

Gentleman's Walk, showing the stalls of Norwich Market, City Hall and the Guildhall (right)

Norwich was the eighth most prosperous shopping destination in the UK in 2006.[164] Norwich has an ancient market place, established by the Normans between 1071 and 1074, which is today the largest six-days-a-week open-air market in England. In 2006, the market was downsized and redeveloped, and the new market stalls have proved controversial: with 20% less floorspace than the original stalls, higher rental and other charges, and inadequate rainwater handling, which has been unpopular with many stallholders and customers alike. In 2007 the local Norwich Evening News characterised Norwich Market as an ongoing conflict between the market traders and Norwich City Council, which operates the market.[165]

The Castle Mall, a shopping centre designed by the local practice Lambert, Scott & Innes and opened in 1993, presents an ingenious solution to the problem of accommodating new retail space in a historic city-centre environment — the building is largely concealed underground and built into the side of a hill, with a public park created on its roof in the area south of the castle.

A second shopping mall, Intu Chapelfield (formally known as Chapelfield) was opened in 2005 on the site of a closed Caley's (later Rowntree Mackintosh and Nestlé) chocolate factory. Chapelfield opened in September 2005, featuring as its flagship department store House of Fraser. Detractors have criticised Chapelfield as unnecessary and damaging to local businesses; its presence has prompted smaller retailers to band together to promote the virtues of independent shops. Despite this, in August 2006 it was reported by the Javelin Group that Norwich was one of the top five retail destinations in the UK,[166] and in October 2006 the city centre was voted the best in the UK, in a shopping satisfaction survey run by Goldfish Credit Card.[167]

A section of central Norwich, in an area approximately bounded by Bethel Street/Upper St Giles Street, Grapes Hill, St Benedict's and St Andrew's Hill/London Street/Castle Meadow, forms a quarter now known, and promoted, as Norwich Lanes. A series of mostly-pedestrianised small lanes, alleyways and streets, it is noted for its independent retailers, and eating and drinking establishments. The area also contains a number of the city's cultural attractions, including museums, theatres and other venues. As part of a nationwide drive to recognise the importance, and to maintain the character and individuality of Britain's high streets, Norwich Lanes was the Great British High Street Awards 2014 national winner in the "City" category.[168]

To the north of the city centre is the Anglia Square shopping centre. The centre and the surrounding area is to be redeveloped; demolition work was due to commence in 2010 after an archaeological dig (conducted in 2009 and due to the centre being located around the site of a Saxon fortified settlement). The new development is planned to be a mixture of shops and housing, unlike the original which consisted of offices, shops and a cinema.[169] In February 2009, it was announced that, due to the economic climate, plans for the area have been delayed and the developers are unable to say for certain when work will commence.[170]

In 2014, the centre was bought by investment manager Threadneedle Investments for £7.5 million.[171]

The current owners and their partner Weston Homes announced in November 2016, they have been holding talks with chief officers at Norwich City Hall. Plans submitted include the demolition of Anglia Square, the former stationery office and Gildengate House. More than 1000 homes are planned to be built above shop units and a new public square.[172][173]

In early 2018, Weston Homes and landowner Columbia Threadneedle submitted regeneration plans for the site. These include 1200 homes, major supermarket, hotel, green squares and central courtyards.[174]

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