'Working for the conservation and preservation of Thorpe's woodlands as a haven for wildlife and a green space for the local community'.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Happy Christmas

This Christmas the campaign to save Thorpe Woods is nearly two and a half years old. Since July 2010 we have been working to protect Thorpe Woods from the threat of destruction.
The threat to Thorpe Woods has underlined just how well loved and valued they are, not only by local people but also by organisation such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, the Woodland Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). In fact the only people who don’t appear to value the woods are the owners who continue to press for their destruction so that they can develop the site for their own private gain.
In July 2010 they came forward with plans to build 800 houses on the site of the woods. Since then they have continued to promote these plans, they instructed new architects in 2011 and this year we understand that they are proposing the construction of a Centre Parcs style development coupled with housing, all of this at the cost of the destruction of a County Wildlife Site.

How you can help

The Friends together with local people and councillors have in the last few days reaffirmed their opposition to these proposals. Earlier this month the Eastern Evening News covered the story (Families urged to back campaign for Thorpe St Andrew woodlands) and in response many of you wrote in to voice your support for the woods, thank you for doing this, your support is essential if Thorpe Woods are to be saved.

2013 and the future of Thorpe Woods

In March next year the woods will form part of a consultation which will be published by Broadland District Council. The consultation will consider which sites to the east of Norwich are suitable for housing and commercial development.
Local people and interested bodies will have an opportunity to tell the council that they would like Thorpe Woods to be saved from development and preserved as a green space for wildlife and the local community. This will be your chance to make clear to the council that you want Thorpe Woods to be saved from the threat of development and that they should be preserved for people and wildlife to enjoy for many years to come.
We will update you soon on how you can make your voice heard.
In the meantime thank you, Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Councillors Renew Opposition to Loss of Thorpe Woodland

The Friends are please to report that local councillors for Thorpe St Andrew have once again stated their complete oppostion to any development proposals that would affect Thorpe Woods.

We understand that the owners of Thorpe Woods are once again promoting plans to build houses and possibly some form of Centre Parcs tourist attraction on the site currently covered by the woodlands.

The councillors have issued the following press release and an article covering it should be appearing in the Eastern Evening News early next week.

A consultation which will allow local people to state their views on whether Thorpe Woods should be protected as a greenspace is expected to be published by Broadland District Council in March next year.

Council Press Release :

At a full Council Meeting of the Thorpe St Andrew Town Council on Monday evening (3rd December 2012), Deputy Mayor and County Councillor for Thorpe St Andrew, Ian Mackie, as well as Town Councillor and County Councillor for Woodside, Nigel Shaw, restated their public opposition to any moves to develop the Thorpe St Andrew woodlands (Racecourse, Belmore and Brown's Plantations).

The two local councillors for Thorpe St Andrew have once again made clear their opposition to any development proposals that would destroy these much loved and valued woodland, and have backed the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands.
Thorpe woods are a 200 acre woodland on the eastern fringe of Thorpe St Andrew. They are recognised as an important site for wildlife by organisations such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, The Woodland Trust and the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). The woods are a designated County Wildlife Site.
In July 2010 the owner, the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust, came forward with plans to fell much of the woods and build up to 800 houses on the site. The proposal raised wide spread opposition from local residents who marched through the woods to demonstrate their opposition. Local County Councillors Ian Mackie and Nigel Shaw have worked closely with local residents and groups such as The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands to oppose the proposals and to safeguard the woods. 
On Monday evening the Councillors restated their opposition ahead of any new proposals from the owners for the felling and development of the woods, Ian Mackie said:These woodlands provide a vital green lung and are home to hundreds of species of wildlife.  In addition, they are home to ancient woodlands, once part of a wedge of woods and heath which stretched from Thorpe to Mousehold Heath.  This area is reputed to have been home to Robert Kett during his fight for just conditions in 1549, as well as his final battle at Dussindale, so the whole area has enormous scientific, social and historical value."
The woods will form part of a growth consultation that will be published by Broadland District Council in March next year. The consultation will consider which sites to the east of Norwich are suitable for housing and commercial development.  Local people and interested bodies will have an opportunity to tell the council whether they would like Thorpe Woods to be saved from development and preserved as a green space for local people.
County Councillor Nigel Shaw said: "Our renewed public opposition to development or inclusion in a growth plan is an early indicator to residents and interested bodies that we are determined to protect this rich environmental heritage.  For far too many years we have lost ancient woodlands and given we already have considerable development planned in Thorpe St Andrew and further beyond, the need for develop on this special site is wholly unnecessary.  We are urging residents to join the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands and make their voices heard when the consultation begins in earnest next year."

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Woodland Trust calls for more woodland in Norfolk

In their  article and editorial of the 10th October (Make a Tree-mendous Difference- page 16) the EDP reported on the fact that the Woodland Trust has identified Norfolk and Norwich as areas that are in need of more woodland. Norwich in particular is identified as an area where free public access to woodland is low. The Trust call for the planting of trees and the creation of more woodland.
In the light of this report the plight of Thorpe Woods is even more significant.
These woods lie on the edge of Norwich and cover an area of 200 acres. However the current owners of the woods continue to push forward with their plans to fell this native woodland and build a housing estate.
The people of Norwich and Thorpe have valued this wood for generations and have made their opposition to these plans clear at public meeting and demonstrations.

The Friends, whose many members come not only from from Thorpe St Andrew but from Norwich and the wider county , have been working for over two years with conservation bodies and local politicians to draw attention to the importance of these woods, which should be preserved not only for the people of Thorpe but for the people of Norwich and the whole of Norfolk.

Hopefully before long Broadland District Council will formally recognise the value of this rare green space and act to preserve it for future generations. 

We will update you soon on the current position the woods and their proposed status within the councils development triangle, and how you can make clear to the council that you would like these woods to be protected from any form of development and secured as a greenspace for the people of Norwich and Norfolk.

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Update- Broadland District Council Extraordinary Meeting & Thorpe & Felthorpe Trusts new developers

For over two years the Friends have been working closely with three local councillors who have supported the campaign to save Thorpe woods from development.
Ian Mackie, Nigel Shaw and John Fisher have met us on a number of occasions and even took part in the public demonstration through the woods in August 2010 to demonstrate their opposition to the owners proposals to build 800 homes on Belmore, Browns and Racecourse Plantation.
The fate of the woods is largely dependent on the status they are given within the Joint Core Strategy. In the next few months Broadland District Council will hold a public consultation on where new housing should go, it is vital that the council recognise Thorpe Woods as a green space that must be preserved and therefore exclude it from the areas opened up for development.
Last week the council held an Extraordinary Council Meeting to discuss the options for the location of future development.  The options were Alternative 1 which would allow development both inside and outside the route of the future Northern Distributor Road (NDR) or Alternative 2 which would concentrate all development within the NDR.
As the woods fall within the NDR Alternative 2 would have placed more pressure on them.
Councillors Mackie and Shaw asked Broadland District Council Leader, Andrew Proctor, the following question:
I am opposed to development on the Thorpe Woodlands. Therefore, could the Leader explain why choosing Alternative 1 for pre-submission would be the most appropriate in order to best defend the Thorpe Woodlands from development?
Andrew Proctor answered:
It's fair to say that we all want to see the best development in the best place for the future and as part of that ensure that our key environmental assets are protected.
Alternative 2 would intensify pressures on the environmental assets either through direct pressure for development or trespass/disturbance; that the potential to link environmental  assets into strategic green corridors may be compromised; and it would be likely to require land not currently being promoted for development.
That makes Alternative 1 the most viable route to see the best development in the best place for the future.
In response they asked:
Are the Thorpe Woodlands considered to be one of our key environmental assets?
Andrew Proctor answered:
It is positive to hear that the council recognises Thorpe Woods as a key environmental asset however the owners, Thorpe & Felthorpe Trust are continuing to lobby for the woods to be considered as a potential site for development.
In fact, it appears that they are working with a new developer called Socially Conscious Capital, a company that specialises in developing sites “with problems and obstacles or sites which have a history of unsuccessful promotion”. The company is headed by Rock Feilding, a friend of Gail Mayhew, who spends most of his time in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea.
The company uses many of the same soft words and phrases used by the owners first choice of developer, the American Andres Duany of DPZ (if you attended the Charrettes held two years ago you will be familiar with this approach) in essence this involves using words such as sustainable, community, environment, legacy in an attempt distract you from the inescapable fact they want to destroy a 200 acre woodland.
We will keep you informed on any further developments we here about, and please do let us know if you hear of anything that you think may be important.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

UK Woodlands Should be 'held in trust for the nation'.

What a great source of optimism the announcement on the 4 July by the independent panel appointed by the government regarding the UK’s forest proved to be, with their unequivocal statement that the UK's forest should not be sold, but, "held in trust for the nation".. It only goes to underline once again how important the Friends of Thorpe woodlands fight is to try and protect over 200 acres of local woods.

The report only echoed what most of the public know and believe – that woods are good for our general wellbeing, every child should have "an element of woodland-based learning” but also that woodlands could actually help "drive a sustainable economic revival" and we should be aiming to increase England's woodland cover from 10% to 15% by 2060.

The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands have always put forward the argument that the Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust, who own these local woods, should utilise the timber by managing the trees properly and make money through harvesting renewable energy, rather than flattening these beautiful woods to build up to 800 houses, so it is great to see this panel reached the same conclusion:   "We need a new culture of thinking and action around wood and woodlands," the Rt Rev Jones said in the report's foreword…."[We need] a new way of valuing and managing the natural and social capital of our woodland resource, alongside the timber they contain."

It only serves to underline the importance of Thorpe woods and how any plans to destroy them runs contrary to government policy and the interest of Norwich, Norfolk and the country as a whole.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Tree Warden Walk at Belmore Plantation

The Thorpe St Andrew Tree Wardens will be holding another walk at Belmore Plantation next Tuesday at 7pm.

The walk will start at the South Hill Road entrance to the woods and stout footwear is recommend.

Last years walk was a great success and so we hope as many people as possible will come along.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Strong Support for Protection of Thorpe Woods

Many respected bodies and individuals have issued strong statements of support for Thorpe Woods, these include The Woodland Trust, Norfolk Wildlife Trust and CPRE.

In addition local politicans including Councillors and the MP for Norwich North have set out their support for the campaign to save Thorpe Woods from development.

Please click here to read more about their support.

Statements of Support.