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

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Thorpe St Andrew Town Council oppose latest application

A big thank you do all our members who came out at the last minute to Thorpe St Andrew Town Councils planning meeting last night.

The council unanimously voted to oppose the application and this decision will be passed to Broadland District Council who will consider the application in the new year and decide whether to reject it.

If you haven’t written to Broadland District Council to object to this application there is still time to do so.

If possible please could you include in your objection some or all of the following points:

That Thorpe Woods is the largest area of woodland in Greater Norwich

That it is recognised as an important County Wildlife Site

The application is contrary to national policy (National Planning Policy Framework expects the least environmentally important land should be allocated),

It is also contrary to local policy (The Joint Core Strategy Policy 1 also specifically requires that development should “minimise fragmentation of habitats and seek to conserve existing environmental assets of acknowledged regional or local importance”); and

That it should be considered as a key part of the Green Infrastructure  Strategy for the whole area and should not be looked at in isolation.

That its importance as green infrastructure will only increase as development progresses

That the area of woodland at threat is larger than the majority of CWS’s in Norfolk

That the woods were examined and consulted upon as part of the AAP planning process and that they were identified as being unsuitable for development

You can either write to:

Ben Burgess
Planning Projects Manager
Broadland District Council
Thorpe Lodge
1 Yarmouth Road
Thorpe St Andrew
Norwich, NR7 0DU

Or lodge it on the planning website using the following link:


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Planning application lodged to build on Thorpe Woods - Your chance to say NO

The developers Socially Conscious Capital have chosen to ignore the views of local people, conservation bodies and councillors and have lodged a planning application to build 300 houses over 25 acres of Thorpe Woods.

These plans would destroy a large area of this important County Wildlife Site and would severely damage the remaining woodland.

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who have identified the woods as a County Wildlife Site, have viewed the application and have issued an unequivocal statement opposing them, it states that rather than enhancing the woods the plans would “represent a major development and will have a significant adverse impact on the woodlands”. The area that will be destroyed is as large as Lion Wood and is larger than the majority of County Wildlife Sites in Norfolk.

The application is opposed by our local Councillors Ian Mackie, John Fisher and Nigel Shaw.

You have until the 8th December to make clear that you don't want this destructive development, please act now to save this valuable and much loved English woodland.

How you can say NO

Saying no to this application will only take 5 minutes of your time, simply click on the link below, this will take you to a comments form, fill in your details, state why you are opposed to the application and click the submit button at the bottom of the form.

CLICK HERE TO OBJECT TO THE APPLICATION  You have until the 8th December to make cleat that you are opposed to this unwanted and destructive development.

Alternatively you can write a letter to Broadland District Council stating that you are opposed to planning application 20161896 , please address your letter to:

Ben Burgess
Planning Projects Manager
Broadland District Council
Thorpe Lodge
1 Yarmouth Road
Thorpe St Andrew
Norwich, NR7 0DU

Reasons for opposing the application

Thorpe Woods is the largest area of woodland in Greater Norwich

The woods are recognised as an important County Wildlife Site

Thorpe Woods is not identified as development land in the Area Action Plan which has undergone thorough consultation and comment.

They once formed part of Mousehold Heath

They form a key part of the Green Infrastructure Strategy for the area.

In the 2013 consultation for Broadland District Council development plan over 2400 people objected to any level of development in Thorpe Woods, in fact Thorpe Woods received more objections than any other part of the plan.

Planning application 20161896 


Friday, 16 September 2016

New Proposals for Racecourse Plantation – the TRUTH

Over the last week or so you may well have received a glossy pamphlet about Thorpe Woods. The developers Socially Conscious Capital are promoting plans to build 300 houses over 25 acres of the woods, the carrot that they are offering local people to accept these plans is the creation of a so called community woodland. In truth these new proposals are yet another cynical attempt by these developers to try and make a quick buck.

The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands together with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and all of our local councillors (Ian Mackie, John Fisher and Nigel Shaw) oppose these new plans.

The Proposals

In their pamphlet the developers set out 5 main proposals, these are:

      1. No more than 300 homes

The building of housing estate within these woods would not only destroy 25 acres of rare English woodland it would also degrade the surrounding woodland due to light pollution and supporting infrastructure such as roads, drains and paving.

The development area would directly affect rare species such as Great Crested Newts, White Admiral Butterflies and rare bats

      2. 80% smaller than original proposals, but they still destroy 25 acres of woodland

The area of woodland destroyed would still cover a very large area (equal to 20 full size football pitches), its destruction would be the equivalent to felling and building over the entirety of Lion Wood. Norwich and Thorpe St Andrew cannot afford to loss this much irreplaceable habitat.

3.  150 acres of land for local community, but at a price

Socially Conscious Capital claim that the local community will have access to a 150 acres of woodland under their new plan, however the price for this is the destruction of 25 acres of beautiful woodland. The truth is that  we already have access to 200 acres of woodland that are a recognised County Wildlife Site, the loss of 25 acres is simply too high a price to pay both for local people and the wildlife that depends on these woods.

The owner of these woods can manage them as a sustainable commercial woodlands, this approach would allow them to combine making a profit, preserving the woods in their entirety whilst continuing to allow local people access to them.

4. Cycle & pedestrian links

The transport links put forward under the developers proposals would have a negative impact on the ecology of the woods and could damage the wildlife that is dependent upon them.

It should be borne in mind that Broadland District Council’s existing local plan will create many new cycle tracks and pedestrian links without threatening the woods and the wildlife within them.

      5. The new proposal claims to enhance the woods County Wildlife Site status

This statement is simply untrue, The Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who have identified the woods as a County Wildlife Site, have viewed the new proposals and have issued an unequivocal statement opposing them, it states that rather than enhancing the woods the plans would “represent a major development and will have a significant adverse impact on the woodlands”. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust are also keen to point out that the claim that more trees would be retained under these proposals is also misleading as under the felling licences currently in place the owners must replant a tree for each one they fell.

We understand that the developers plan to submit a planning application next month. If and when they do we shall let you know how you can let Broadland District Council’s planning department know that you are opposed to these damaging and unnecessary plans.

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Norfolk Wildlife Trust Oppose New Development Proposals

The Norfolk Wildlife Trust have joined the Friends in opposing the new proposals to build 300 houses over a large section of Thorpe Woods.

John Hiskett, Senior Conservation Officer at Norfolk Wildlife Trust said: "The latest proposals from Socially Conscious Capital, although reduced in scale from previous proposals, still represent a major development and will have a significant adverse impact on the woodlands."

The Trust restated that the woods are designated as a County Wildlife Site - an area of land rich in wildlife. In the past the developer has been keen to downplay the environmental value of certain areas of the woods however the Trust pointed out that the information that they hold on the woods shows clearly their continued value. John Hiskett explained that " information that we hold on this County Wildlife Site (CWS) , including recent survey information, shows clearly that the site continues to meet CWS criteria and is an exceptionally valuable site for wildlife in the local context".

County Wildlife Sites are protected by local planning policies and as a result very few have been subject to loss or damage as a result of development and in Norfolk there have been no losses in the last 20 years on the scale  of that proposed here.

For more information on County Wildlife Sites like Thorpe Woods please see the Norfolk Wildlife Trust website.

Please click here to see John Hiskett of NWT being interviewed on Mustard TV about Thorpe Woods.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

New housing proposals would destroy an area of woodland larger than Lion Wood

Socially Conscious Capitals (SCC) revised plans for 300 houses in Thorpe Wood have been portrayed as having little impact on the woods. The plans envisage building over an area that would cover 10 hectares.

SCC are keen to downplay the significance of 10 hectares or 25 acres, however to give some idea as to how much woodland would be destroyed by this proposal it is worth bearing in mind that Lion Wood, just off Harvey Lane, only cover 9.2 hectares.
Lion Wood: the new plans would destroy an area of woodland larger than the whole of these woods
The truth is that this unwanted housing scheme would destroy an area of english woodland bigger than Lion Wood,this proposed development would have a disastrous effect on the ecology of Thorpe Woods.

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Friends protest against new plans for 300 houses on Thorpe Woods

On Friday the 15th July at 5pm members of the Friends of Thorpe Woodlands gathered outside Dussindale Community Centre to show their strong oppostion to the latest proposals from Socially Conscious Capital to build 300 houses, roads etc over a large portion of Thorpe Woods.

The developers were hosting an invitation only event (to which we weren't invited) to try and promote their new scheme, however as can been seen from these photos local people remain firmly opposed to any development within the woods.

The story was also covered by the EDP and EEN which ran articles on the latest developments.

We will continue to monitor and oppose the developers attempts to build on this much loved greenspace.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Local Councillors Oppose Latest Development Proposals

Following on from the latest proposals by the developers Socially Conscious Capital to build 300 houses over Thorpe Woods the Friends have been contacted by Thorpe St Andrew Councillors who wanted to make clear their opposition to these plans.

Ian Mackie a Broadland Distrct Councillor and Mayor for Thorpe St Andrew said:

“Once again this is over-development and forms no part of the area action plan for approved sites. The plans for 300 houses would decimate the plantation. 

“I have opposed the plans previously and will continue to do so.

“Isn't it time these historic woodlands were given or sold to the public? This will be the third or forth attempt to irreparably damage this site of environmental significance.”

District and Town Councillor John Fisher underlined this opposition by issuing the following statement:

'The proposal site of Thorpe Woods is not identified as development land in the Area Action Plan which has undergone thorough consultation and comment. Major objections, over 2000, were received when the consultation for the Forward Plan went out for consultation, in fact responses to the Thorpe Woods site received more objections than any other parts of the plan, therefore I believe that development on this site is extremely unlikely at this time. The plan identifies suitable development sites up to 2026. Whilst I cannot speak for the whole Town Council, as current chairman of the planning committee I would expect the town council to continue their past policy of objecting to any development of Thorpe Woods. Whilst the proposal for 300 is reduced from the former proposals this development would still have a major impact upon the ecology of this important green lung on the edge of the built up area'.

The latest plans have also been condemned by The Norfolk Wildlife Trust who pointed out that the woods were a County Wildlife Site and that there were no examples of development being allowed on such a site in Norfolk.

The Friends together with local councilllors and conservation bodies such as the Norfolk Wildlife Trust oppose any plans for development in the woods.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

New Threat to Thorpe Woods

The Friends of Thorpe Woodland are disappointed to hear that the owners of Thorpe Woods have decided to ignore the views of local people and the stated position of Broadland District Council and have decided to once again put forward new proposals to build housing over Thorpe Woods. The latest plans differ little from their last attempt, they envisage building 300 houses together with supporting roads etc over a large area of the woods.

This new proposal ignores the fact that Broadland District Council has already formally identified enough land to accommodate house building for the next 10 years and that they have identified Thorpe Woods as an area unsuitable for development due to its importance as a County Wildlife site, and due to the widespread local opposition to any development on this much loved green space.
We gather that the developers Socially Conscious Capital have written to the council and have asked to meet them within the next week, therefore we think it is essential for us to once again make clear to the council that we continue to oppose any development in these beautiful woods.

You can help by please sending an email to the following local councillors stating you continued opposition to any development in Thorpe Woods, the following councillors have been longstanding supporters of Thorpe Woods and have staunchly opposed their development:

In addition to contacting the council you may also think about writing a letter to the press, their email address is  EDPLetters@archant.co.uk

 Socially Conscious Capitals new proposals can be viewed here: 

With your help we can once again protect Thorpe woods for future generations.

Thank you for your continued support.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Friends restore Belmore Woods and clear footpaths

Over the last few months we have been contacted by many local Thorpe residents who walk in Thorpe Woods, they have been greatly concerned by the mess created in the woods by the felling of trees last November. This felling resulted in large areas of Belmore Woods, including many of the foot paths, being blocked by branches and tree trunks which had been left strewn across the woods by the contractors.

The state of Belmore Woods after the felling last November, many paths were blocked by a thick layer of branches and felled trees.

The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands continue to support managed forestry within the woods as we are keen for them to have a long term sustainable future as a woodland and green lung for the people of Thorpe and Norwich. However the mess left behind by the contractors, as shown in the photo above, is not managed forestry and if left like this would damage the ecosystem of the woods and hinder the ability of local residents to visit and enjoy them, 

Therefore over the Easter weekend a group of the Friends spent an entire day clearing the paths and woodland floor of these branches and tree trunks.

The work started near to the entrance to the woods on Southhill Road and progressed through the woods towards Pound Lane, 

Luckily we were blessed with good weather and a strong turn out from local people. 

Throughout the day people walking their dogs or visiting the woods with their families stopped to talk about how much they valued the woods and how pleased they were to see the paths being cleared and the woods being cared for, many offered to help as volunteers on any future work.

Local families helping to clear the paths
Those working on the day included local families who helped to collect the branches into 5 main piles, and as can be seen from the following photo the woods looked much more like their old selves as a result of this hard work.

Belmore woods after the branches have been cleared from the path and floor and gathered into piles.
The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands always said that they were here for the long term, and we will continue to monitor and care for these woods to ensure that local people can continue to enjoy walking along their paths and wildlife can continue to thrive in them.

More work needs to be done to clear the branches left by last years felling and so please contact us if you would like to help.

Part of Belmore woods after the volunteers have cleared them.