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Archaeology activity starts on site of £70m development

Developers are setting out plans for one of Norwich’s prime city-centre sites as work will be starting this summer on the £70m development.

Orbit Homes, which has bought the St Anne’s Wharf site between King Street and the River Wensum, will begin archaeological work on the site in May.

Ahead of developing 437 homes and commercial space at St Anne’s, Orbit will be carrying out an 18-week archaeological excavation.

The site was occupied by a medieval Augustinian friary, which was dissolved in the 16th century and the site was passed to the Dukes of Norfolk, who built Howard House on the corner of King Street and Mountergate.

Maggie McCann, development director at Orbit, explained: “We know the site was the area of much activity in the Saxon era so we are anticipating finds of historical interest. This will be an exciting project to see what artefacts are discovered and can give us more insight into the local history.”

She added: “We have agreed an archaeological strategy working closely with the county archaeological service and are appointing a local specialist firm to carry out the excavations and record all findings and make them available for future reference.”

The listed building, Howard House, is part of the acquisition. Orbit Homes has submitted a listed buildings and planning application for the renovation of the building to bring it back into use.

Orbit will start developing the site later this summer. This will see 437 homes built on the site, including for outright sale, private rent, shared ownership and affordable rent. The housing provider already owns and manages over 5,400 affordable homes across the region from its Norwich office, but this development will see Orbit create its first homes to be made available for private rent.