Concerns raised over proposed energy park's impact on wildlife

The proposed Norwich Energy Innovation Park. Photo: Lanpro/Pro-Works

The proposed Norwich Energy Innovation Park, which is planned for land west of Stanfield Road in Wymondham. - Credit: Lanpro/Pro-Works

Concerns have been raised over the plans to build a new business park in a town, including the possible impact on biodiversity in the area.

Plans for the Norwich Energy Innovation Park were submitted to South Norfolk District Council by the Goff Group last month, after a public consultation had been held.

If approved, the scheme would see an 11-acre plot of land west of Stanfield Road in Wymondham, already owned by Goff Petroleum, developed to include workshops, offices and other communal working areas, possibly creating more than 300 new jobs.

At a Wymondham Town Council planning meeting on Tuesday, January 19, councillors praised the development's potential to bring new business and jobs to the town.

But Annette James and Suzanne Nuri-Nixon voiced their worries over its environmental impact.

Mrs James said: "I agree with it in terms of the enterprise and bringing in business, I think that's good.

Wymondham councillor Annette James.

Wymondham councillor Annette James. - Credit: Lucy Nixon

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"But like Suzanne I'm concerned about the biodiversity and the wildlife side of it, and I'm really not totally convinced that they have done all they can."

The committee unanimously agreed to recommend approval of the energy park, subject to the submission of some biodiversity reports, though Mrs James said she was "reluctant" to do so.

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Consultee The Lizard Charity, which manages The Oxford Common as a piece of natural countryside which shares a boundary with the proposed development, objected to the plans over the potential of biodiversity offsetting, light pollution, noise pollution, environmental pollution and its visual impact.

Writing on behalf of the charity's trustees, Peter Durrant said: "Wildlife does not see boundaries, and a significant loss of established habitat within the existing green swathe that extends from Station Road, Wymondham, to Bridge Road, Silfield, will have a negative impact on wildlife in the immediate area.

The Lizard country wildlife meadow at Wymondham, under threat from new homes. The Outh Norfolk Distr

The Lizard country wildlife meadow at Wymondham. - Credit: Denise Bradley

"Alternative development sites are available nearby, that are already within the Wymondham Area Action Plan, that would be equally or better suited for the development of the Innovation Park."

But Natural England had no objections, and said the park "will not have significant adverse impacts on statutorily protected nature conservation sites".

South Norfolk Council will consider the application in due course.

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