Anger as council gives developer go-ahead for tree felling
- Credit: Mark Butler
People angry with tree felling at a Norwich development have questioned why the local council let it happen.
A tree preservation order (TPO) was agreed by Broadland District Council in April for mature trees at what will eventually be the 1,000 home-strong White Rose Park development in Hellesdon.
But on August 11 residents on the estate as part of the first phase of development, which used to be the Royal Norwich Golf Club, were aghast to see "beautiful trees" protected during phase one suddenly being felled as part of phase two.
This was in addition to the already-extensive felling around Hellesdon High School.
A spokeswoman for Persimmon said all felling had been approved by the local tree officer, prompting questions as to why Broadland district councillors had consented.
A spokesman for Broadland said the TPO had not been revoked and was in place — but had been amended to reflect new Persimmon proposals and replanting schemes for phase two.
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He said the council had taken into account the community benefits of the project and limited life expectancy of many of the existing trees when approving such proposals.
"The last variation to the TPO was on August 10," he said.
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"The trees around the high school are predominately poplar trees and retaining poplar trees, of poor form, in close proximity to new houses is not appropriate.
"Replacement planting has been set out in the plans to ensure adequate mitigation is provided for their loss."
Hellesdon parish councillor Shelagh Gurney said the "unnecessary felling" of two trees on Oakwood Drive made her despair, but the mass felling around the school had more concerningly "removed privacy and protection for the children".
She said: "The parish council fought and fought the application to fell the trees, but at the 11th hour members of Broadland's planning committee, who don't live in Hellesdon, made the decision to let them get on with it."
Mark Butler, who moved onto the site six months ago, said he felt Broadland and Persimmon had been "sneaky" in varying the TPO conditions at the last minute.
"It looks awful," he said. "So much history of the city from a historic golf course blighted in days."