Fate of trees on 1,000 home development hangs in the balance

Hellesdon parish councillors Shelagh Gurney and David King. Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Hellesdon parish councillors Shelagh Gurney and David King. Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

The fate of mature trees on a 1,000-home development site will be decided next week.   

Broadland District Council put a provisional tree preservation order (TPO) in place in October 2020, after residents complained of unnecessary removal at the former Royal Norwich Golf Club.  

Persimmon Homes, who has objected to the order, has plans for 1,000 properties on the site off Drayton High Road, with a 157-home second phase approved at a meeting last month.  

A report to the council’s appeals panel ahead of a meeting on Wednesday, April 7, said the TPO only allowed for short-term protection.   

The former Royal Norwich golf course in Hellesdon, which is being developed by Persimmon Picture: De

The former Royal Norwich golf course in Hellesdon, which is being developed by Persimmon Picture: Denise Bradley - Credit: copyright: Archant 2014

The report says the trees offer significant wildlife habitat, connectivity and ecological value and should not cause an increase in nuisance to future residents.   

The report said: “The condition of the trees on site is predominantly good, free of defects and in good health.   

"The trees would be considered as semi-mature to mature and if maintained correctly most could have a remaining life span of between 20 to 300 plus years depending on species.”   


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The council has received one objection to the TPO, from Howes Percival on behalf of Persimmon Homes, who said the council had accepted trees would be removed from the site to make way for the development.  

“By changing the use from an open 18 hole golf course to a residential development delivering 1,000 houses it had to be accepted that a significant number of trees would be felled on the site and that character and visual amenity would change,” they said.  

Architects' image of the Persimmon development on the former Royal Norwich Golf Club.

Architects' image of the Persimmon development on the former Royal Norwich Golf Club. - Credit: Concept Architecture/Persimmon

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They also argue that it is not practical to implement the order at this stage, four years after planning permission was first granted.  

Fourteen residents have made representations of support, arguing they mature trees are important for the environment, with roots reducing erosion and flood risk.   

Shelagh Gurney and David King, councillors who called for the initial protection order, have said they hope the order will be made permanent for residents and wildlife.   

Ms Gurney said: “We asked for the TPO because residents were reporting to us there were some felling going on that they were concerned about.  

“I hope they are going to confirm the order on the site, we need to maintain as many mature trees on the site as we can.  

Mr King agreed, saying he understood housing is important but the trees were needed for the environment. 

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