School’s dining hall refused again - because of 200-year-old tree
- Credit: Norwich School
A Norwich school’s plan to build a new dining hall, which would have seen the loss of a 200-year-old tree, has again been refused due to concern over biodiversity.
Norwich School, which is in the Norwich Cathedral grounds, lodged a fresh bid to create a new dining hall and teaching facilities, following a failed bid last year.
The previous plan was refused by the council over plans to cut down 12 trees, including a London Plane with a tree protection order thought to be up to 200 years old.
A revised proposal debated at Norwich City Council’s planning committee meeting, on Thursday, November 12, was recommended for approval by planning officers.
However, the scheme was again refused after councillors raised fears about the impact on nature.
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Green Party councillor Ben Price said: “Trees develop a wealth of microhabitats. The more mature a trees becomes, the greater its biodiversity is likely to be. It’s not possible to recreate these intricate relationships by replanting. You lose all of that biological information. We have precious little left in the city; we can’t afford to lose more.”
And objector Cavan Stewart said: “The school has outgrown its original medieval site.
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“The removal of these 12 trees may seem trivial in the grand scheme of things, at a time when the Amazon is burning at the rate of a football pitch every minute, HS2 is bulldozing its way through ancient Warwickshire woodlands and, closer to home, 205 acres of the much-loved Thorpe Woods has been devastated in order to build a luxury housing development.
“We have something happening literally in our own backyard and I believe we should make a stand.”
Headmaster Steffan Griffiths said: “Norwich School is a proud part of this city and we’ve been in Cathedral Close for hundreds of years. Any development needs to be done with balance.
“We now have more than double pupils and staff to feed everyday but we hope it will be a building the city can be proud of and use - for the many and not the few.”
He highlighted the benefit to wildlife from proposals to plant 771 new trees, 21 in the grounds.
But councillors had concerns over tree growth being limited if they were restricted to planters.
And Judith Lubbock added: “It’s far better this school makes a few adaptations and stays where it is than starts afresh somewhere else.
The scheme was voted down with six against and five in favour.
The school will revisit its plans.