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Anger over proposed felling of £330,000-worth of trees for independent school's new dining hall

PUBLISHED: 07:00 05 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:23 05 May 2019

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School

Fears have been raised about the removal of up to 12 "important" trees worth up to £330,000 to make way for a Norwich independent school's new dining room.

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolNorwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School unveiled the plans for the dining room and kitchen block, new teaching facilities and landscaping work in March, saying the upgrades to its historic site were urgently needed.

But the city council has raised an objection to the plans for the site, off Norwich Cathedral's Upper Close, due to the effect which felling the trees could have on the surrounding area.

In a comment submitted on the application, the council said the trees proposed to be removed were mature and had been designated as “important” by an appraisal of the Cathedral Close conservation area.

The council's tree protection officer said: “The value of the trees that would need to be removed in order to allow this development to go ahead is in excess of £330,000.

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolNorwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

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“The trees in question not only benefit the students, staff, and visitors of the Norwich School, but their sphere of influence extends well beyond the cathedral walls, providing both tangible, and intangible benefits for everyone within the city.”

Historic England also raised concerns about the tree felling, concluding that the development and resulting loss of trees would “have a harmful impact on the setting and historic significance” of several listed buildings and the conservation area.

The application's design and access statement proposes a compensatory tree planting scheme, but the city council said: “Planting proposals currently fail to go beyond the remit of what would be expected of a scheme of this profile in a scenario where limited trees of lesser value required removal.”

Norwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolNorwich School has submitted plans for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster of Norwich School, said: “This sensitive site is constrained by a number of factors and involves balancing the potential impacts on a number of listed buildings, scheduled monuments and known sites of archaeological interest, as well as on some adjacent trees within the school grounds.

“The school has sought to limit the number of tree removals as far as possible and, where unavoidable, is committed to significant areas of new compensatory tree planting and enhancing the city's highly valued green corridors.

“The proposed building itself has a number of features to promote biodiversity, including a green roof and a living wall.”

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