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Fears care village plan on edge of woods could harm bats and newts

PUBLISHED: 17:21 22 January 2019 | UPDATED: 17:21 22 January 2019

Jason Beckett, of The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, who has raised concerns about plans for a care village close to the woods PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

Jason Beckett, of The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, who has raised concerns about plans for a care village close to the woods PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY

ARCHANT NORFOLK

A parcel of woodland close to Norwich could make way for a new care village, capable of homing more than 100 people.

Lowestoft-based care provider Carlton Hall is looking to place a 68-bed care home, 23 flats and 18 bungalows on a site off Pound Lane in Thorpe, on the edge of Norwich.

However, the new development would come at the loss of an area of woodland, which would be cut into to allow the village to be built.

The development, which would be Carlton Hall’s second care village, is proposed to create 75 new jobs, providing flats and bungalows for assisted living alongside the care home itself.

The proposals have prompted concerns from the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands, a group formed around 10 years ago to protect the woods neighbouring the site.

Jason Beckett, of the Friends, said: “The ecology support submitted with the application admits the development would be damaging to bats and great crested newts, which is concerning.

“Even thought it would be outside of the county wildlife site, the woods still rely heavily on the green corridors surrounding them, so it’s an application we would be unlikely to support.

“As a group, we will keep an eye on it and I am particularly interested to see what the council’s take on it is.”

However, the ecology report argues that the potential damage would be outweighed by the economic benefits the development would provide.

As part of the scheme, two homes within the site - Tawny Lodge and The Beeches - stand to be demolished to allow the village to take shape.

The scheme would see the removal of three groups of trees and more than a dozen individual plants and hedges.

The site is close to the former Oasis sports and leisure club, which itself is due to be demolished to make way for homes.

If approved, it will become latest care village to successfully receive Broadland’s backing, with the council’s planning committee approving a scheme for a development in Reepham earlier this month.

Carlton Hall has been approached for comment on the application.

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