After a £7m investment and two years in the planning, the new 595 space car park has opened on Rose Lane in the first step to boost regeneration in Mountergate.
Designed and developed by German HUBER car park systems, the project includes 530m2 of solar panels, a secure bicycle lock-up and office and cafe space.
Markus Lauble, managing director of HUBER, opened the new car park on Wednesday, describing it as the crown jewel of their work across the continent.
“It is very rare for a car park contractor to go so deep into the design,” he said. “Usually we have a building that already has planning permission and we can turn it around in six to eight months, but this has been a two-year scheme.
Concerns had been raised about traffic flows around the car park, which Mr Lauble said had been mitigated.
“One of the results of the planning process was we decided to set the entrance and exit a lot further away from each other, so there is more queuing space on the road,” he said. “There were concerns there would be queuing on Prince of Wales Road, which we have addressed with two entrance lanes at a higher capacity than we needed.”
Adrian Blakey, programme manager for NPS Norwich, who helped deliver the project, said: “Most important is the regeneration kick-start for this area of the city. We put a lot of effort in to how this relates to the surrounding area in the future, and something vibrant which makes this part of the city attractive to regeneration.
“This was something new and fresh – something that made a statement but did not detract from some of the heritage elements around.”
Mike Stonard, cabinet member for resources and income generation at Norwich City Council, said: “This shows we have confidence in the area and we are prepared to invest in infrastructure.
“In 2008 when the crash hit, all development stopped. We can’t make it happen again overnight but we can create the right conditions for it.”
Mr Stonard added city centre parking capacity is still below 10,000 spaces, but the latest addition would help mitigate the pedestrianisation of the city centre.
“Chapelfield and Castle Mall are first choice car parks, and if there is a long queue there people could pull off to Rose Lane,” he said.