Campaigners fight to save mature city trees from chop

 Lesley Grahame, Jamie Osborn, Martin Schmierer, Ben Price and Ash Haynes with daughter Meredith from the Green Party are...

Lesley Grahame, Jamie Osborn, Martin Schmierer, Ben Price and Ash Haynes with daughter Meredith from the Green Party are campaigning to save the trees on King street. Picture: Ella Wilkinson - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

More than 250 people have signed a petition to save seven mature trees in the city centre from the chop - which stand to make way for homes. 

Plans have been lodged to demolish a former toilet block in King Street in Norwich, on the site of the former King Street Stores.

The demolition would pave the way for the development of 18 new homes, one of a number of schemes in the pipeline for the King Street area of the city.

But for the scheme to go ahead as planned, it would also mean that eight lime trees on-site would need to be removed, which has prompted fierce opposition from protesters. 

Green Party councillors Jamie Osborn, Lesley Grahame, Martin Schmierer and Ben Price, with part member Ash Haynes (centre)...

Green Party councillors Jamie Osborn, Lesley Grahame, Martin Schmierer and Ben Price, with part member Ash Haynes (centre) and daughter Meredith - Credit: Ella Wilkinson

A petition started by Green Party activist Ash Haynes has so far been signed close to 300 times, with the former city councillor calling on City Hall to step in to protect them.


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She said: "Mature trees are so important for biodiversity and providing habitats. We've already seen trees come down elsewhere in the city so we think it's so important to protect them."

But Ian Reilly, of Lanpro, the agent for the scheme said the trees needed to be removed to allow the development to fit in with planning policy at City Hall - which calls for new developments in the area to restore the building line of the street close to the pavement.

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He said: "We fully appreciate the concerns raised and we have had discussions on this matter with local residents and elected members for the ward, we are happy to continue this engagement.

"However, we would expect that the application will be validated over the Christmas period and the council will then formally consult with the public. This will provide an opportunity for residents and elected members to submit their views to the Council for consideration.

A Norwich City Council spokesperson said: “This site falls within the city centre conservation area, so the trees have protected status within that. If we receive an application to carry out work that may have an impact on them, we would take this context into account.

“We have not received or been made aware of any petition to secure the future of the trees, however the correct channel for this action would be to request a tree preservation order via the route specified on our website.”

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