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

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.