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Concern that London-based developer will appeal as plans for 300 homes in Thorpe Woods, near Norwich, are refused

PUBLISHED: 11:17 16 June 2017 | UPDATED: 13:19 16 June 2017

Jason Beckett, treasurer for The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, in Thorpe woods which were under threat from housing development.
PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jason Beckett, treasurer for The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, in Thorpe woods which were under threat from housing development. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

Campaigners are celebrating after plans for a controversial housing development on a much-loved area of woodland were refused.

Thorpe Woods proposed housing area.Thorpe Woods proposed housing area.

London-based developer Socially Conscious Capital (SCC) had sought to build 300-homes on Racecourse Plantation in Thorpe St Andrew, near Norwich.

But on Wednesday Broadland District Council’s planning officers turned down the application under delegated authority.

While councillors and campaigners have welcomed the refusal, there are now concerns that the developer could appeal the decision.

Racecourse Plantation, which forms part of Thorpe Woods off Plumstead Road East, has been used by generations of people in the town.

Artist's impression of the development at Racecourse Plantations at Thorpe. Photo: Four PRArtist's impression of the development at Racecourse Plantations at Thorpe. Photo: Four PR

But had the development gone ahead, it would have resulted in the loss of 10 hectares of woodland.

MORE: What will happen if 300 homes are built on treasured Thorpe woodland?
Ian Mackie, mayor of Thorpe St Andrew, said: “To suggest that we need to build on an area of ancient woodland is completely unnecessary, and I think the is issue is not about housing supply, it is about making a profit from land which has been used by generations for public recreation.

“It would be regrettable if it did go to appeal. But I think the indication is that it probably will because of the economic value of the land.”

Refusing the application, Broadland’s head of planning Phil Courtier said the plans would have resulted in a “substantial” reduction in size of the existing woodland.

SCC, meanwhile, said it was “disappointed” with the decision, which it claimed had the support of more than 70 people.

The developer’s planning consultant, Andrew Simpson, added: “We will now take time to review our options and consider our next steps.”

As well as the new homes, SCC was proposing to create a 150-acre woodland park, which would be given to the community for ownership.

It was also proposing to improve a footpath running along Plumstead Road, known as “The Trod”.

Jason Beckett, spokesman for the Friends of Thorpe Woods campaign group, said: “We are glad that the council has continued to support the local community.

“We would oppose any appeal by the developer.”

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