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Call to rethink 300-home plan in woodland

PUBLISHED: 18:45 24 January 2020 | UPDATED: 18:45 24 January 2020

Campaigners want to put a stop to a 300 home development in Thorpe Woodlands. Picture: Mandy McKenna

Campaigners want to put a stop to a 300 home development in Thorpe Woodlands. Picture: Mandy McKenna

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Campaigners have urged developers to rethink plans for hundreds of homes on treasured woodland.

Campaigners have issued fresh calls to protect the woodland in light of the climate emergency.  PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYCampaigners have issued fresh calls to protect the woodland in light of the climate emergency. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Controversial plans for 300 homes on the Racecourse Plantation in Thorpe St Andrew were given the go-ahead in January last year.

But Extinction Rebellion Norwich members say the development off Plumstead Road East needs to be reconsidered in light of the climate emergency.

Dr Barbara Howey said: "I want the owners of Thorpe woodlands to reconsider their position in developing this site for profit and consider the climate emergency.

"They could if they so wished take the lead in an alternative to 'business as usual' by adopting rewilding schemes that would enhance the woodlands for the sake of the wellbeing of both human and non-human life for future generations."

A 300 home planning application has been approved for Thorpe Woodlands. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAYA 300 home planning application has been approved for Thorpe Woodlands. PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

It comes after 50 people, including councillors, ecologists and residents, held a crisis meeting on Saturday and announced fresh plans to fight the decision.

Dr Howey said: "Everyone at the meeting unanimously agreed that in the current climate emergency there was an urgent need to conserve and enhance the woodland and its ecology."

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But a spokesperson for the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust said: "In this way the whole of Thorpe Woods will be used for public benefit: The minority for homes which are much needed, and the majority for public recreation and the environment.

"The trust believes this is a balanced approach, taking into account the two major public needs of the environment and housing."

It is not the first time the site, which is owned by the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust, has been the subject of controversy.

Plans for the development were initially refused by Broadland District Council in June 2017.

The scheme had attracted widespread opposition from campaigners, local councillors and the county's wildlife trust over the loss of woodland.

But the decision was overturned in January 2019 at an appeal lodged by developer Socially Conscious Capital (SCC).

Inspector Frances Mahoney ruled the development would not have an adverse impact on biodiversity.

The proposals also include a 61-hectare community woodland park and affordable housing.


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