Ian McEwan and Andrew Motion slam planned UEA works

Ian McEwan. Picture: Nick Butcher

Ian McEwan. Picture: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant © 2009

Two prominent writers have joined a growing chorus of opposition to a planned rugby pitch and car park development at the University of East Anglia.

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as file name - Credit: Archant

Ian McEwan and Andrew Motion have both spoken out in an national newspaper against the plan for up to 218 marked car parking spots as well as an sports pitches and buildings including a clubhouse and a bar.

Critics fear the development will have a devastating impact on the diverse plant and animal life at the site off Colney Road, and a petition against the plan has already gathered more than 3,200 signatures.

Mr McEwan, a former UEA student, called the plan for a new Norwich Rugby Club base 'crude, even thuggish'.

He said: 'Car parking and rugby have their place in the world of course, but not at the expense of an irreplaceable riverine ecology and gorgeous city resource.'

Sir Andrew Motion Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire

Sir Andrew Motion Picture: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The Yare valley site, along with neighbouring Eaton Park, is home to 5,500 wildlife species including everything from otters to dragonflies.

Mr Motion, a former professor of creative writing at the university, labelled the plan 'scandalous.' He said: 'Everything possible should be done to persuade the university to change its mind, and abandon these deeply destructive plans.'

But the university has defended the plan. A spokesman told this newspaper: 'The application is supported by a full range of ecology reports, landscape appraisals, flood risk assessments and reports on the effects of transport. We have also undertaken additional ecology surveys to address concerns over particular wildlife species.' The petition can be found at www.change.org by searching for 'Earlham Park'.What do you think of the plans? Write to eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk