The Norwich Society

About us

Committees & Groups

The Executive Committee positions are decided by vote at our Annual General Meetings.

All other committees and groups are open to members to join at any time. Find out more about what volunteering involves here.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is responsible for running the affairs of the Society. The members of the Committee are also Trustees. The Committee receives recommendations from its subsidiary committees and representatives, and establishes coherent views and strategies.

Executive Committee Members

Barry Howell - Chair

Jon Boon - Vice-Chair

David Taylor - Honorary Secretary

Neil Sturgeon - Honorary Treasurer

Alan Theobald - Chair of the Civic and Environment Committee

Michael Jordan - Chair of the Strategic Planning and Transport Committee

Simeon Jackson

John Howkins

Conservation and Development Committee

Interim Chair: Bert Bremner

The CDC considers new development and its effect on existing heritage, as well as working towards preserving and enhancing existing historic buildings and identifying new uses. The city contains one of the oldest medieval street plans and features over 1,500 listed buildings; from a Town Planning perspective, these can create challenges for new developments, but working with the City Council and Norwich Preservation Trust, the committee promotes continuing use of older buildings in the city.

Projects that the committee have been progressing include working with City Council to update the Local List outside the ring road, working with the Norwich Preservation Trust on developing schemes for buildings of architectural interest such as on Elm Hill and, in conjunction with the SP&T and PAC, considering the implications of planning policy such as The Greater Norwich Local Plan the impact of specific planning proposals such as Anglia Square and St Mary’s Works.

Planning Appraisal Committee

Chair: Jon Boon

The PAC reviews and comments on planning decisions to the City Council on behalf of the Society, with a particular focus on larger developments and those involving demolition or significant alterations or affecting listed buildings. The committee’s overarching goals are to protect the important architectural heritage of Norwich and to ensure that new development is of high quality and will become our city’s legacy for the future.

The Planning Appraisal Committee also oversees the Society’s involvement in the steering group of the Design and Craftsmanship Awards; biennial architectural awards which promote high quality new design by celebrating the best of Norfolk and Norwich’s new building and conservation projects. Another major ongoing project led by a sub-group, and with the input of the PAC, is scrutinising proposed development to argue for the best outcome at Anglia Square. Working alongside other heritage and community organisations, the Society acted as a Rule 6 party and presented evidence to the public inquiry and continues to actively promote an acceptable and sustainable solution for the site.

Coronavirus impact: As one would expect, there are currently less planning applications being submitted but PAC continues to monitor and forward comments to Norwich City Council's Planning Applications Committee.

View the Planning Application Committee's comments

Strategic Planning and Transport Committee

Chair: Michael Jordan

The SP&T focuses on ‘big matters and the future’ by initiating actions and responding to official consultations in the context of a longer-term view of our city. It’s a hinge-point between the heritage of the past and the development of the future, seeking to influence decisions by being informed by the past and inspired by the opportunities ahead.

Recent projects have included supporting a survey of the perceptions of employers and employees about working in Norwich, a paper on various rail-based transportation opportunities, and in early 2021 writing Norwich Society’s response to the Greater Norwich Local Plan. The next big opportunity is as a stakeholder in the East Norwich Masterplan, which will cover the redevelopment of the large area that includes the Colman’s site, the Deal Ground and Utilities site.

Civic Environment Committee

Chair: Alan Theobald

The CEC seeks to maintain Norwich’s unique character by undertaking regular studies and audits of aspects of the civic environment, both natural and built. Their findings are published on the Society’s website and sent where appropriate to the City Council.

The most recent project has been the preparation of an atlas and directory of Norwich parks and open spaces, and the next project will be a study of weathervanes. Previous projects have included views from strategic viewpoints and river bridges, city centre seating and clocks and sundials. The Committee also receives reports from the Society’s representatives on the Mousehold Heath Conservators and the River Wensum Strategy Delivery Group.

Publicity & Events Committee

Chair: Vanessa Trevelyan

The PEC’s aims are to provide sociable and informative events for members, and to raise awareness of the Society amongst the public. The committee puts together the Society’s popular annual events programme of outings, city tours, and talks, and is also responsible for publicising these events, the overall work of the Norwich Society and inspiring the public with our passion for Norwich.

Successes over the last few years include the introduction of the Historians daytime talks to complement the Society’s evening lectures. These started in a very low-key way but became so popular that they required a larger venue and were moved to auditorium in The Forum. During lockdown the committee established a YouTube channel with recorded talks and launched live online events. The PEC is also responsible for the Society’s social media platforms, providing content and engaging with 6,000 followers on Facebook and 1,200 on Twitter.

The Norwich Society Book Club

Coordinator: Kala Nobbs

The Norwich Society Book Club meets on Wednesday afternoons at roughly six week intervals from September to April and discusses pre-selected books and related topics about Norfolk and Norwich's history. This year, The Book Club is looking at books relating to the 19th century.

New members are always welcome. Contact us for more details if you would like to join.

Find out more and read past Book Club reviews

​The Norwich Society Historians Group

The Norwich Society Historians Day Time Talks are a series of talks with speakers offering a wide range of Norwich History topics, usually showcasing their findings from their research and discussing how they carried out this research. The talks normally place in the Auditorium in The Forum, Millenium plain, although currently taken place via live online webinars and are then made avaiable on our YouTube channel.

View details of the next Historians Talk

Watch previous talks on our YouTube channel