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Conservation group prepares to defend under-threat Norfolk woodland

The Blofield and District Conservation Group (BADCOG) planted Clarke’s Wood, at Shack Lane, in 1984 following the construction of the A47. Photo: Luke Powell

The Blofield and District Conservation Group (BADCOG) planted Clarke’s Wood, at Shack Lane, in 1984 following the construction of the A47. Photo: Luke Powell

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Members of a Blofield conservation group are preparing to defend an under-threat woodland they planted more than 30 years ago.

The Blofield and District Conservation Group (BADCOG) planted Clarke’s Wood, at Shack Lane, in 1984 following the construction of the A47.

But earlier this year members applied to protect the woodland with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) after the land was sold and concerns were raised about its future.

The TPO was granted in July, but it prompted an objection from the new landowner who said he was being “unfairly treated”.

An appeal against the order has now been made and will be heard at the Broadland District Council offices on Wednesday.

BADCOG’s chairman Ernest Hoyos said: “It was the change in ownership that made us apply for the TPO.

“We don’t know what the new owner might want to do and if there is no TPO, and they want to do something with the land, the first thing to go could be the trees.”

TPOs are put in place by local authorities and prevent protected trees from being cut down.

Mr Hoyos said the woodland contains around 50 to 100 trees, which include oak, hazel and scots pine.

A report which will go before Broadland’s appeal panel said the woodland provides a “significant wildlife habitat and ecological value to the site”.

However, in his objection to the order, landowner John Cole said: “The land has sat there for approximately 30 years with no restrictions, but within one week of me purchasing the land, the order was placed upon every tree on the land.

“This in turn makes me feel like my family and I are being targeted and pushed out of the village.”

Mr Cole said he felt as though he was being “unfairly treated”, and asked why no restrictions had been put in place with the previous owner.

Responding to the objection, Broadland’s tree officer said the TPO was made following the council’s usual process and was not a targeted approach.

BADCOG chairman Mr Hoyos said the woodland had been named after the previous landowner, who allowed volunteers to plant the trees 34 years ago.

Blofield Parish Council has also submitted a statement to Broadland in support of the woodland.

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