Concerned people hire drone camera to 'show destruction of little forest'

Aerial photo of Maltings site viewed facing west

The site viewed facing west. The Nursery Buildings, which run along the site's northern boundary, can be seen on the right of the image (in white). - Credit: Submitted

A group of people concerned about the destruction of a “little forest” have hired someone with a drone and camera to take aerial photographs of the site, which has been earmarked for development. 

Claude Doy, a resident of the Nursery Buildings in Dereham, just behind the old maltings off Norwich St, had told this newspaper in March that he “could not believe the destruction” of trees which used to populate the site, opposite his home. 

Aerial photo of the Maltings site facing south-east

An aerial photo of the site facing south-east, with the Nursery Buildings on the left of the image. Some stumps can been seen where particularly large trees once stood. - Credit: Submitted

At the time, Mr Doy had said: "Some of these trees have been here for more than 100 years, and I can't help but think that they helped by drinking up some of the water from the stream and helped prevent flooding in the area.”

Developer Adrian Arkell had said: "Most of what has been removed was self-seeded trees and we have only removed trees that have been identified as either rotten, dead or diseased - we have actually left more trees than we were able to remove.”

Last month, wishing to test Mr Arkell’s claim, Mr Doy said he and some fellow residents had enlisted the help of someone with a drone to take aerial photographs of the site. 

According to Mr Doy, the photographs prove that far more trees have in fact been removed, when compared with Google satellite imagery of the site as it was.

Though Mr Arkell did not directly respond to Mr Doy’s contention, he said: “We have only carried out works that are permitted and have fully complied with everything that is required of us.”

Google satellite imagery of the old maltings site in Dereham

Satellite imagery on Google Maps shows the site as it was before the tree-felling - Credit: Google

Earlier in the year, Breckland District Council had investigated complaints made by the residents about the tree-felling and confirmed that the developer had not contravened planning legislation. 

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“A complaint was also raised with the environmental health department at Breckland council, who again investigated and found that nothing was untoward,” said Mr Arkell. 

Permission had been given in 2018 for 127 homes, public open space, play areas, landscaping, and green space with sustainable drainage systems on the site, but Mr Arkell said a new proposal for the site would be submitted to Breckland in about a month’s time. 

Aerial photo of the old maltings site in Dereham, taken from the south and facing northwards.

An aerial photo of the site taken from the south, and facing northwards. The Mid-Norfolk Railway can be seen on the left of the image. The bottom-right of the image is marked on Ordnance Survey and Google maps as a pond. - Credit: Submitted