'A world war couldn't destroy our trees' - plea to protect green space

The Royal Norwich Golf Club at Hellesdon, where developers are proposing to build a thousand houses.

The Royal Norwich Golf Club at Hellesdon, where developers are proposing to build a thousand houses. Golfers crossing the busy Drayton High Road. Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

Plans for 157 properties on a former golf course near Norwich will go ahead, despite concerns from councillors over the number of trees that will have to be cut down.  

The plans were brought to Broadland Council’s planning committee after councillors Shelagh Guerney and David King called the matter in, believing the developers were building more properties than allowed for in the outline planning permission and increasing tree felling.  

The 157 properties make up the second phase of development on the former Royal Norwich Golf Club, Hellesdon, part of a 1,000-home project by Persimmon Homes.  

Hellesdon parish councillors Shelagh Gurney and David King. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hellesdon parish councillors Shelagh Gurney and David King. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Council officer Ben Burgess informed the committee 149 trees are planned for removal by the developer, with just 14 being retained, however, 235 new trees will be planted as a replacement.  

“There’s no doubt that the number of trees to be felled is significant and it will result in impacts to the landscape and the existing character of the site,” he said.  

Councillors raised concerns about the environmental impact of cutting down trees but were told the present poplar trees were getting towards the end of their natural lives and some had already blown over in strong winds.  

Mr Burgess added the replacement trees will be a mix of native species which should be longer lasting than the current trees and any that fail in the first five years will be replaced by the developer.  

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Alison Cornish, speaking on behalf of the developer, said: “The development of this site will see the delivery of 157 homes, 33pc will be affordable.   

“We are not undertaking the felling of trees lightly.   

“However, the site is allocated for residential development and outline planning permission has been granted.”  

Exhibition of plans for the Royal Norwich Golf Club development. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Exhibition of plans for the Royal Norwich Golf Club development. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Objecting to the plans, Liberal Democrat councillor Mr David Britcher said: “I have sadly had to watch the green space and mature trees lost to housing all over Hellesdon.  

“The bomb crater [on the golf course] is a constant reminder that even a world war could not destroy the green space and the trees that have grown there for decades.  

“Homes can and should be built around the present natural area in harmony with what nature has so generously provided.”  

The application was carried six votes to three. 

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