City folk have been left wondering why an investigation into whether a property developer illegally cut down trees is taking so long.

The Forestry Commission has confirmed its inquiry - which was launched in June 2023 - into the actions of Serruys Property Company in Trowse remains "an ongoing active investigation". 

Norwich Evening News: Before and after of the damage following the fellingBefore and after of the damage following the felling (Image: Marion Catlin)

The authority was called in after trees along the former May Gurney and Deal Ground industrial sites were felled in April last year.

Questions were raised over whether Serruys - which is hoping to build 670 homes on the site - carried out the works without the authority of a felling licence, an offence which carries an unlimited penalty upon conviction in a magistrates court.

But the developer has insisted it "followed all the correct procedures and guidance".

Norwich Evening News: Marion Catlin was there for when the last tree fellMarion Catlin was there for when the last tree fell (Image: Newsquest)

Eight months after the investigation was first launched, folk in Trowse have been left baffled by the lack of communication about the inquiry. 

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"We are very proud of our community," said Marion Catlin, who lives nearby and chairs the Trowse Millgate Neighbourhood Group.

"I'm not someone to seek revenge but, by not pressing on with the investigation, I believe the wrong signals are being sent out.

"Developers seem to think they can act first and then apologise later, by which time the damage is done.

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"I understand the position of the Forestry Commission and council but I'm disappointed our villages are not being protected more.

Norwich Evening News: Andre Serruys, director of Serruys Property CompanyAndre Serruys, director of Serruys Property Company (Image: Submitted)

"It sets a bad precedent for both the public and developers."

South Norfolk Council had previously confirmed an investigation was under way before the involvement of the Forestry Commission, which has been given greater enforcement powers by the government in recent years.

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Many people, including district councillor John Overton, were concerned about the trees being felled during bird nesting season.

Norwich Evening News: How the river looked prior to being cut back drastically in April 2023How the river looked prior to being cut back drastically in April 2023 (Image: Newsquest)Norwich Evening News: How the riverbank looked after the tree felling in TrowseHow the riverbank looked after the tree felling in Trowse (Image: Marion Catlin)

Mr Overton previously said: “I had been working closely with the developer but what they have done, there is no excuse for it.”  

Serruys Property Company was contacted for comment.