Discovery of great crested newts give Friends of Thorpe Woodlands campaign a boost

Campaigners battling to maintain woodland in Thorpe St Andrew have announced the find of a protected animal.

The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands are joined by MP Chloe Smith and county councillors Ian Mackie and N

The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands are joined by MP Chloe Smith and county councillors Ian Mackie and Nigel Shaw to raise awareness of their campaign. - Credit: Submitted - April 2013

Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, a 1,000-member group aiming to protect the privately-owned Racecourse, Belmore and Brown's Plantations, say great crested newts have been discovered there.

Thorpe Woodlands is designated as a County Wildlife Site but its owner, the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust, is promoting it for possible development within Broadland District Council's Area Action Plan (AAP).

The AAP covers the 'Growth Triangle' which has been earmarked for 10,000 homes as part of the wider growth ambitions of the Greater Norwich Development Partnership (GNDP). A 12-week consultation was started by the council on March 18.

On Saturday the campaigners were joined by Norwich North MP Chloe Smith and local county councillors Ian Mackie and Nigel Shaw to announce the wildlife find, which has been verified by both the Norfolk Amphibian and Reptile Group and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

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Miss Smith said: 'Thorpe Wood are ancient woodlands and have been recognised as having huge ecological wealth. I want to see such sites protected and I know many residents feel very strongly about them.

'Planning for the future is the responsibility of the local council, but residents have the chance to put their views in now.

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'Broadland is consulting right now on how the area north-east of Norwich should grow and develop over the next 15 years and beyond.

'The plan talks about the importance of conservation of key environmental assets. If residents are a friend of Thorpe Woods I urge them to read the document and put in their views.'

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