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Norwich City Council Engineer's Department Série
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City Estates Property and Easements Books

The first four of these volumes are labelled on the front cover 'City Engineer's Department Norwich Property and Easements Book' and the fifth is labelled 'Norwich City Estates Property and Easements Book'. They contain plans of properties owned by the Corporation of the City of Norwich drawn principally for inclusion in title deeds (mainly leases). There are notes written alongside each plan recording date of original lease, name of original lessee, name of present assignee, date when engrossed on skin for lease or traced on cloth and sent to Town Clerk and name of solicitor involved in the transaction.

The Corporation owned properties throughout the City, including dwelling houses, shops, factories and public houses. In the 20th century it acquired large areas of agricultural land for the development of housing estates (parts of which land it sold off for development by private developers). The books include outine plans relating to bridges and sewers and plans of slum clearance areas and street widening schemes.

There is a street and place index at the beginning of each volume.

Warning: These volumes are large and heavy.

Registers of New Buildings

The registers of new buildings relate to the building control plans submitted to Norwich City Council (which are listed at N/EN 12/1) and act as a finding aid to them. The information in the registers is arranged in columns as follows: official number of plan; situation; date of approval by Committee; name of owner; name of builder; description of building; date commenced; date foundation concrete inspected; date foundations inspected; date drains inspected and tested; casual inspections; date certificate of fitness for habitation; and remarks.
Each register (except register 6) includes a street index at the front.

City of Norwich Plan, 1945: Basic Survey, 1946-1948.

The Basic Survey was compiled in eleven sections, of which Sections I, IIE (Services-Sewage) and III are missing. The information is recorded on 25 inch to 1 mile Ordnance Survey maps, most of which are marked as the air survey revision of August-September 1937. However, the maps in Sections IV, V and IX do not have an Ordnance Survey date. At the front of some sections is a smaller-scale map of the whole City (1000 feet to 1 mile).
The maps in Section II (Services) bear the City Engineer's stamp and the date 18 April 1946. The other Sections bear the Valuation Office's stamp and are dated between 4 and 15 May 1948 (except for Section IX which has no stamp or date).
Note that war damage is shown by a red dot on Sections IV to XI.
The City of Norwich Plan was published in 1945 before the end of the Second World War and was prepared for the Council by C.H. James and S. Rowland Pierce, consultants, and H.C. Rowley, City Engineer. (There is a copy in the Local Studies Library at N 711.4 (0912)). The authors stated (p. 12): 'The intention of this Plan is that it should form a basis for the growth and development of Norwich during the next fifty years ....' According to page 125 preparation took fifteen months and appendix III (p. 131) lists the documents used. The foreword to the Plan states: 'The first map dealing with the undeveloped areas within the City boundary was published in 1928 and a scheme to cover the built-up zones of the City was in active course of preparation when war broke out in 1939'. The need for greater planning control powers was of course accentuated by war-time bombing. According to appendix II of the Plan ('Town Planning Legislation') the Town and Country (Interim Development) Act, 1943, extended planning control by local authorities to the whole of England and Wales.The first annual report of the Town Planning Committee to Council for the year ending 31 December 1947 (p. 1) provides an insight into the compilation of the Basic Survey for the City of Norwich Plan: 'In town planning, 1947 was a year of transition. The wartime era of so-called 'bold planning' was virtually over; the citizen during that year was made acutely aware of the impact of the economic crisis that could not fail to have its effect upon the nature of future physical developments in the City. It is possible, nevertheless, that the slowing-up of redevelopment projects will turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the planner. It is too early yet to say that the high hopes raised by the publication of the City of Norwich Plan, 1945, are doomed to frustration; but the breathing-space provided by the crisis should serve to provide the Plan with a much-needed basis of factual analysis without which the detailed planning of the City cannot be adequate. The work of preparing the Basic Survey of the City, therefore, engaged much of the attention of the Town Planning staff during the year; when this work is complete, the foundations of the City Plan will be more surely laid'. The 1947 annual report continues (p. 14-15): 'the compilation of a Basic Survey has been carried on by investigators and draughtsmen. This survey involved the obtaining of information regarding the height, floor coverage, age and existing use of buildings in the City, their rateable value and anticipated useful life. This information was completed during the year and recorded on ordnance sheets; in order that full details could be quickly obtained, a card index of individual properties was prepared on which change of user, rebuilding, etc., could if necessary be recorded. When complete, this card index will contain about 40,000 reference cards. In order that the results of the Basic Survey could be easily visualised, a summary was begun by dividing the City into 63 different sectors and by tabulating in each sector the number of dwellinghouses, shops, schools, industries, etc., and including any changes of user or condition between 1939 and 1947. Each summary, when completed, is referred to the Committee for detailed consideration, and a start with this work (including visits to the sites involved) was made towards the end of the year'. In the event the City Plan was not destined to form the basis for the growth and development of Norwich during the next fifty years. The Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 came into operation on 1 July 1948, introducing new complexities and extra duties. The annual report of the Town Planning Committee for 1948 commenced by observing: '1948 was almost certainly the most difficult year in the history of the administration of town planning in the City of Norwich'. Under the Act the Council had to submit a Development Plan to the central government and the annual report for 1952 notes that this was eventually done on 27 February 1953 [sic.]. This was approved with modifications by the Minister of Housing and Local Government on 13 April 1955. It should be noted that at this time planning matters were dealt with by the Town Planning Section of the City Engineer's Department (although there was a Town Planning Committee). It was not until later that Planning became a separate Department. Hence, records relating to planning are to be found amongst the archives of both the City Engineer's Department and the Planning Department.

St Faith's and Aylsham Rural District Council Development and Building Applications

Most applications also bear county reference numbers and many of these plans are duplicated in the City Planning division's series of County Council Development Applications (N/P 6) and Control of Advertisements (N/P 8). Duplicate applications have not been retained.
The reference numbers correspond to the district reference numbers with cross-references to the county number where known (N/P 6 and N/P 8).

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