David Simmonds Consultancy Limited

Norwich Riverside, Keys to Redevelopment: A Case Study

The text below comprises the summary from the Report from "Norwich Riverside, Keys to Redevelopment: A Case Study". This study was carried out for British Urban Regeneration Association in Winter 2003/2004.


This study was prepared by David Simmonds Consultancy for the Steering and Development Forum (SDF) of the British Urban Regeneration Association (BURA). It represents the results of a case study intended to explore the factors behind the comprehensive mixed use redevelopment of Norwich Riverside, which is viewed as an example of a brownfield regeneration project that has largely satisfied the aspirations of the Government and local council. The study was based on a concentrated and focussed programme of work to identify the factors behind the success of the project, and these are highlighted in terms of their more general policy implications.

Ultimately, the key factor that was active and present and which led to successful redevelopment at Norwich Riverside was a culture of partnering based on commercial pragmatism. This was about merging the planning objectives of the local authorities and Government with the profit motive of the main private developer. Project difficulties were then foreseen by the team, but did not in the event arise because of the acceptance of a practical and realistic approach based, in part, on commerciality.

While the success in redeveloping a major brownfield regeneration site such as Norwich Riverside may provide some useful lessons for other major industrial sites that have undergone market failure, a cautious approach should be taken in drawing any steadfast conclusions for other sites. Each situation may be unique, different causal chains and redevelopment aspirations may apply in different cities, and there is not necessarily a single set of solutions that can be applied universally. Clearly, an important part of any future research agenda in this theme should be directed at developing an understanding of context in terms of potential transferability.



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