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Norwich School unveils fresh plans to win over councillors who objected to felling trees

PUBLISHED: 10:31 13 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:31 13 February 2020

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Norwich School

An independent school has revealed revised proposals for a new dining hall after its previous bid was rejected by councillors because it involved cutting down 12 trees to make way for it.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolImpression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

The Norwich School said it had sought to address concerns about its bid to build a new dining room, kitchen block and teaching facilities at its Bishop's Palace Lawn site at Norwich Cathedral, replacing an existing prefabricated building that dates back to the 1960s.

Fresh plans for the new facilities, that would include a dining hall seating 350 that would also be used by community, charitable and educational groups, as well as by the school, are expected to formally submitted next month.

Steffan Griffiths, head master of the Norwich School. Picture: Autumn Lewis.Steffan Griffiths, head master of the Norwich School. Picture: Autumn Lewis.

MORE: Norwich School plans rejected as councillors refuse to allow trees to be chopped down

The school today gave a pre-application presentation to members of Norwich City Council's planning committee to explain its revised development that will include a substantial tree planting scheme on the site and in the wider cathedral precinct.

Steffan Griffiths, the Norwich School's headmaster, said: "We wanted to take councillors through our thinking on how things have changed since the first application and hopefully take them on a journey of how we have got to where we have got to. We feel that perhaps the first time we didn't explain ourselves as well as we might have done.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolImpression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

"We are very clear on why the first application was refused and we recognise that we cannot simply make the same application again. We have to show we have listened and have understood the concerns.

"I think what we are proposing this time is demonstrably better and I think it answers the concerns that people legitimately had."

Trees at the Norwich School that could been felled prompting previous plans for a new dining hall to be rejected. Picture: Dan GrimmerTrees at the Norwich School that could been felled prompting previous plans for a new dining hall to be rejected. Picture: Dan Grimmer

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MORE: Anger over proposed felling of £330,000-worth of trees for independent school's new dining hall

Planning officers had recommended the school's previous application be approved, saying the benefits outweighed the harm, despite the council's own tree officer, landscape architect and natural areas officer objecting, because a dozen trees would be felled.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolImpression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

But members of the planning committee voted by six votes to five to reject the plans last June because losing the trees was against the council's own policies.

Among the trees affected is a 35-metre London Plane is estimated to be between 150 and 200 years old and protected by a tree preservation order.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolImpression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

The school's new plans will still see trees felled but will also include landscaping comprising over 20 new trees within the application site, including two new large trees and approximately 50 trees in the immediate Cathedral Precinct within the City Centre Conservation Area.

To mitigate for the loss of trees, the school would also plant 682 trees and 130 young tree seedlings on sites it owns in Horsford and at its Redmayne playing fields, off North Walsham Road.

Impression of the revised plans by Norwich School  for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich SchoolImpression of the revised plans by Norwich School for new facilities and landscaping at its site in the Cathedral's Upper Close. Picture: Norwich School

Trees at the Norwich School that could been felled prompting previous plans for a new dining hall to be rejected. Picture: Dan GrimmerTrees at the Norwich School that could been felled prompting previous plans for a new dining hall to be rejected. Picture: Dan Grimmer

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