Developer accused of 'wanton destruction' for 'needlessly' felling trees

Residents have expressed their despair as trees were felled at the end of their drive

Residents have expressed their despair as trees were felled at the end of their drive on a Persimmon housing development in Hellesdon - Credit: Mark Butler

Residents of a new housing estate are furious with its developer — claiming they chopped down two beautiful trees "completely unnecessarily".

Persimmon has denied the charge levied at it by people living on the White Rose Park development at the former Royal Norwich golf course site in Hellesdon, north Norwich.

The company has already faced criticism for originally planning to fell 149 trees as part of phase two of the 1000-home development, which will see 157 properties added to those built during the first phase.

Trees being felled at the White Rose Park development in Hellesdon

Trees being felled at the White Rose Park development in Hellesdon - Credit: Mark Butler

Mark Butler, 39, moved onto the estate six months ago.

He said he knew some trees would have to be felled for the following phases, but was "shocked and disappointed" to see the two "beautiful trees" at the end of his road chopped down on Wednesday.

He said: "During phase one, those two big trees at the bottom of Oakwood Drive had fences around them with "not to be destroyed" signs.


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"So when I saw them being felled on Wednesday, I was furious.

"I checked with Broadland, and it turns out that while Persimmon was denied permission to fell them in phase one, it now has permission to fell them in phase two.

Trees being felled at the White Rose Park development in Hellesdon

Trees being felled at the White Rose Park development in Hellesdon - Credit: Mark Butler

"The tree protection orders were suddenly lifted. It's very sneaky."

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He added: "What's most aggravating is that they're not even building on that part of land.

"Persimmon say it's to do with surface water run-off, but surely there was another way around this. There's no need for run-off to be directed exactly where these two trees stood.

Mark Butler

Mark Butler said he felt disappointed in Persimmon, and that while he knew some trees would have to be felled, the number was becoming excessive - Credit: Mark Butler

"It's completely unnecessary."

A Persimmon Homes spokeswoman said the company was striving to retain trees where possible while enabling development of the land for "much needed housing in the area".

She said: "We have been working closely with the local planning and tree officers to retain key high-value trees across the development.

"The two trees were only removed after the local tree officer granted approval.

"We have been working with the local lead flood authority to retain the maximum number of trees possible but also effectively manage site drainage."

Hellesdon councillors David King and Shelagh Gurney. Picture: Richard Gill

Hellesdon councillors David King and Shelagh Gurney. Picture: Richard Gill - Credit: Richard Gill

Shelagh Gurney, Hellesdon parish councillor and Broadland district councillor, said Persimmon was guilty of "wanton destruction".

"They are felling trees they really don't need to be felling", she said.

"It's causing us great concern.

"I'm not surprised the residents are upset, because Hellesdon councillors are too."

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