Thorpe Woods, photo by Paul Osbourne

Misleading claims from developer disputed by Wildlife Trust


Thursday 22 September, 2016


Norfolk Wildlife Trust criticises misleading claims made by developers Socially Conscious Capital (SCC) as the Trust maintains objection to their proposal for new housing at Racecourse Plantation, in Thorpe St Andrew, Norwich.
 
A planning proposal by the owners of Thorpe Woods is to develop part of the woods for housing. There have been proposals for development in the woods previously, but these were withdrawn after opposition from NWT and the local community, and recognition by Broadland District Council that the area is vital green space for north-east Norwich.
 
The wood is made up of three plantations – Racecourse, Belmore and Browns – and is designated as a County Wildlife Site (CWS). This means it has been recognised as being an area rich in wildlife. Outside of nationally protected areas, CWS are the best areas for wildlife in the county. They are selected using scientific criteria and detailed ecological surveys.
 
NWT believes new promotional materials from the developers, SCC contain misleading claims in a bid to gain public support for the development of 300 houses in Racecourse Plantation.
 
On their website SCC state that Racecourse Plantation is in the Northeast Norwich Growth Triangle, but neglect to mention that its inclusion is because it is an area to be protected from development, rather than suitable for it. This is because it is a County Wildlife Site and because it will be surrounded by other areas along the Salhouse Road, which have already been zoned for development.
 
In the brochure SCC claims that CWS status will be protected and ‘enhanced’ by their proposal. Senior Conservation Officer, John Hiskett responded:
 
“Describing a development that takes up 10 hectares of a 60 hectare County Wildlife Site as protecting it cannot be justified. Undoubtedly the ecological value of the site could be enhanced through better management. However in our view the loss of such a large area of the CWS and the knock on impacts in the areas of woodland surrounding the housing would far outweigh these gains. Furthermore, using the word ‘enhanced’ is misleading because any improvements in the remaining woodland would be necessary mitigation for loss of the 10 hectares to housing.”
 
NWT also criticises the statement in the brochure that there will be fewer trees removed with the development than in the forestry plan. If trees are removed as part of a forestry plan, there will be usually be a requirement to replant. In many cases however, trees are removed for thinning purposes to result in a smaller number of better specimens. Tree removal can improve biodiversity in the woodland, as it can create more open space, glades and management of the rides and improve the habitat for former heathland plants found in the woodland.
 
John added: “There is a strong argument that forestry and wildlife, and also forestry and access, are compatible. It would be quite possible with much more limited funds to manage the wood for forestry into the future and create informal access, as happens in many other managed woodlands.”
 
Broadland District Council has recently been able to open the nearby Harrison’s Plantation to the public as a community woodland, with money paid for by developers. This area provides a network of walks through woodland very similar to Racecourse Plantation. However, SCC neglects to mention that this community asset already exists.
 
Norfolk Wildlife Trust believes that Thorpe Woods should be retained in their entirety as a key biodiversity asset within north-east Norwich. We will therefore be objecting to the proposal. 
Share this

Top news stories

2021-08-30 New Chief Executive of Norfolk New Chief Executive of Norfolk Wildlife Trust announced
Monday 30 August, 2021
The trustees of Norfolk Wildlife Trust are delighted to announce the appointment of Eliot Lyne as the new Chief Execu...
2021-08-19  Sunflowers power £2 million f  Sunflowers power £2 million for nature’s recovery
Thursday 19 August, 2021
Wildlife friendly farm, which grows wild bird seed, and 100 acres of sunflowers, celebrates raising £2 million ...
2021-07-29 Nearly quarter of a million po Nearly quarter of a million pounds for South Norfolk conservation from government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund
Thursday 29 July, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has been awarded a grant of £244,400 for an innovative landscape-scale conservation proj...
2021-07-27 Historic reintroduction revers Historic reintroduction reverses extinction of England’s rarest frog
Tuesday 27 July, 2021
The northern pool frog, England’s rarest amphibian, has been successfully reintroduced to Thompson Common in No...
2021-07-15 Rail station wildlife gardens Rail station wildlife gardens to receive stamp of approval from NWT
Thursday 15 July, 2021
Community efforts to boost nature at rail stations are to be rewarded with an official accreditation from Norfolk Wil...
2021-07-08 Commons for the future? Commons for the future?
Thursday 08 July, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has this week published a study which considers the strengths and weaknesses of the potential ...
2021-06-25 Discover seaside soap operas d Discover seaside soap operas during National Marine Week
Friday 25 June, 2021
Staycations mean more of us are set to discover the delights of our shores and coastal waters, as we visit the seasid...
2021-06-15 More than £600k raised to expa More than £600k raised to expand Brecks nature reserve
Tuesday 15 June, 2021
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has reached its fundraising target to expand one of the Brecks’ most important nature re...
2021-06-07 Go wild for beetles this summe Go wild for beetles this summer
Monday 07 June, 2021
Have you seen a two-spot bishy barnabee, a scorpion impersonator or a male beetle with swollen hind legs? This summer...
2021-05-27 30 Days Wild – the UK’s bigges 30 Days Wild – the UK’s biggest nature challenge – reveals people’s favourite ‘random acts of wildness’
Thursday 27 May, 2021
On the eve of the UK’s most popular nature challenge, 30 Days Wild, a survey of last year’s participants ...
2021-05-17 Covid update on re-opening Covid update on re-opening
Monday 17 May, 2021
In light of the Government’s ‘roadmap’ out of lockdown, Norfolk Wildlife Trust has today reopened m...
2021-05-17 Future and Form - 21- 30 May S Future and Form - 21- 30 May Shifting Lines
Monday 17 May, 2021
The shifting nature of the North Norfolk coast is evoked through the subtle choreography of voice, natural sounds, vi...