School’s dining hall bid set for approval despite loss of 200-year-old tree

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: LSI Architects - Credit: Norwich School

A school’s plans for a new dining hall, which will see the felling of a 200-year-old tree along with 11 others, is set to be given the green light by councillors, inspite of protests.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: LSI Architects - Credit: Norwich School

The Norwich School, which is in the grounds of Norwich Cathedral, lodged a refreshed bid to build a new dining hall and teaching facilities on the site earlier this year, after seeing a previous bid refused last year.

The original plan was knocked back by Norwich City Council due to the proposed felling of 12 trees on site, included a protected London Plane tree which is believed to be up to 200 years old.

However revised plans are set to go before the council’s planning committee on Thursday, with officers recommended it for approval - despite the trees still being set for the chop.

The new proposals will still see the hall built and 771 new trees planted, including 21 in the grounds and the rest on other pieces of land it owns.

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster of Norwich School. Picture: Autumn Lewis

Steffan Griffiths, headmaster of Norwich School. Picture: Autumn Lewis - Credit: Autumn Lewis


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But critics have said it will be “decades” before the new trees have the same ecological impact that the existing mature trees currently have.

Claire Kidman, a Labour Party activist from Thorpe Hamlet, said: “There are so many flaws in the school’s plans. I think removing the trees would be such a shock to people living nearby and visitors - I don’t think people realise quite how much losing them will change the landscape.”

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Ms Kidman, who set up a petition against the plans which has been signed more than 500 times, said: “It will be decades before we see the same benefits from new trees, which is time we do not have being in a climate emergency.”

Ben Price and Lesley Grahame, Green Party councillors for Thorpe Hamlet, have also formally objected to the plans.

Green Party councillor Ben Price has spoken in support of Norwich Junkard Market. Picture: Danielle

Green Party councillor Ben Price has spoken in support of Norwich Junkard Market. Picture: Danielle Booden - Credit: Danielle Booden

But Steffan Griffiths, Norwich School, headmaster, said: “Our proposals for the landscaping and townscaping elements of our application have addressed reasons for our 2019 refusal in a meaningful way. Overall, our application envisages a major new tree planning scheme for the city.

“All biomass will be replaced on a like-for-like basis with new planting prior to commencement of any development. One new, large, native oak is to be deliberately positioned on site to frame and enhance a view of the Cathedral to be made visible from Palace Plain.”

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