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Controversial plans for 115 homes in Thetford due to be refused again due to protected trees

PUBLISHED: 16:56 01 March 2019

The field, owned by Shadwell Estate in Thetford, which could see 115 homes built. Picture: Google

The field, owned by Shadwell Estate in Thetford, which could see 115 homes built. Picture: Google

Archant

Proposals for more than 100 homes on the Shadwell Estate are likely to be refused once again.

The plans for the houses, on the edge of the estate close to the A1066 and A1088 roundabout in Thetford, were initially refused in October last year due to the loss of protected trees.

However, following new documentation provided by the Shadwell Estate, who own the land, the plans for 115 homes are due to be discussed at the next Breckland District Council planning meeting on March 11.

In October, the plans were refused due to the need to build a new roundabout to access the development, with up to 90 protected trees due to be lost if plans were approved.

In the committee report, the Breckland tree officer states: “It must be realised and accepted that the loss of in excess of 90 protected trees will have an immediate negative impact on the landscape, something that no amount of planting can compensate for in the short term.”

Objections from residents and from Brettenham Parish Council have also been submitted, with many claiming allowing work to take place and removing the trees could set a “dangerous precedent”.

However, others have supported the Shadwell Estate who have said they will plant new Scots Pine trees to replace the lost trees and 40pc of houses being affordable.

One response said: “The Shadwell Estate has been an exemplary custodian of its land over the years, showing a passion for improving the environment through thoughtful management and supporting ‘green’ projects throughout the town.

“The proposal to plant so many trees as mitigation for the development is clear evidence to its environmental commitment.”

Planning officers have recommended the plans are refused by councillors for a second time, saying the application remains “unacceptable due to the loss of trees”.

In their conclusion the officer, Rebecca Collins, states: “The proposed development would result in the loss of a substantial number of preserved trees which are of group value.

“The loss of protected trees should only be permitted in exceptional circumstances, if suitable compensatory measures exist, and where there are wider public benefits.”

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