Anger as developer removes 'little forest' of trees
- Credit: Claude Doy
People have voiced anger after a developer "ripped out" dozens of trees on land near former maltings buildings.
Permission was given in March 2018 for 127 homes, public open space, play areas, landscaping, and green space with sustainable drainage systems on land next to Dereham maltings off Norwich Road.
Despite little work happening over the last three years, residents were left "shocked" when the developer began removing trees on the land surrounding the building.
Breckland Council said the developer of the site, which was listed in July 2000 shortly before it closed, had not broken any planning rules.
Claude Doy, who lives in The Nursery Buildings directly next to the development said he "could not believe the destruction".
He said: "Work started on February 9 and we were so shocked and saddened to see the trees being ripped out and placed in a pile at the edge of the land.
"Some of these trees have been here for more than 100 years and I can't help but think that they helped by drinking up some of the water from the stream and help prevent flooding in the area.
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"It was once like a little forest here and now it just looks awful just so a developer can build even more homes."
Adrian Arkell, the developer of the project said: "Most of what has been removed was self-seeded trees and we have only removed trees that have been identified as either rotten, dead or diseased, we have actually left more trees than we were able to remove.
"All trees that have been uprooted and will be removed from the site and go for recycling.
"I’m sorry that some of the many neighbours have complained, Mitchell Demolition are an extremely professional company and they have been more than mindful that they also wanted to keep the impact on the neighbours to an absolute minimum."
Mr Doy approached Breckland Council and Dereham Town Council about the work, and the district council investigated the complaints.
A Breckland Council spokesperson said: “We have fully investigated the complaints raised by a local resident and can confirm the developer is not contravening planning legislation.
"The area has no protected trees on site, nor is it within the conservation area.”
The land, which is located just behind Dereham Railway Station, is within flood zone one and is considered to be at "low risk" from flooding according to Breckland.
The development will also see the Grade II Listed building be repaired and refurbished ready for sale.