Anger at proposed felling of 114 trees at former hospital site

The former David Rice Hospital site at Drayton.

The former David Rice Hospital site at Drayton. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Plans to remove 114 mature trees to make way for the redevelopment of a former hospital site have been poorly received by neighbours and campaigners.

Outline permission is already in place for a residential development on the site of the former David Rice Hospital in Drayton, with up to 29 homes permitted to be built there.

And plans have now been lodged to build 12 properties on part of the site, with the flexibility to be used either as six-bed rehabilitation units for people with onset dementia or three or four bedroom family homes.

However, if they go ahead, the plans would see 114 trees removed from the woodland area off Drayton High Road included in the site.

And there are also fears a passageway planned in the layout will pave the way for further development at a later date, eating further into the Wensum Valley.

Michael Rayner, from CPRE Norfolk. Pic: CPRE Norfolk.

Michael Rayner, from CPRE Norfolk. Pic: CPRE Norfolk. - Credit: CPRE Norfolk

Michael Rayner, planning consultant for the Norfolk branch of the Campaign for Protection of Rural Engalnd (CPRE Norfolk), said: "It would be a tragedy to lose such a significant number of trees which home all sorts of wildlife. 

"We are also very suspicious of the way the layout could open up more of the site for development. 

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"The woodland as it is is a really well used and loved amenity which will certainly not be as attractive."

Joy Ramsey, who lives opposite the site and is Drayton parish tree warden, is also among those objecting to the latest plans.

She said: "This valuable ecologically rich site will be decimated by the construction of the proposed buildings which are not in keeping with existing houses.

"People use the area for recreation - it is a fabulous site overlooking the Wensum Valley. Removing so many trees would just decimate it."

However, papers submitted with the application argue that fewer trees are set to be removed than originally thought and that additional greenery will be planted to mitigate for the loss.

Attempts were made to contact the applicant and the agents for the scheme.

Broadland Council will decide the application in due course.