Pinebanks site tree felling concerns aired at meeting

More than 60 people packed a lively public meeting to air their concerns about plans to fell 'preserved trees' near to a former popular sports and leisure centre.

Ocubis Ltd, the firm responsible for developing the Pinebanks site, off Harvey Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, has submitted an application to fell five trees, all protected by Tree Preservation Orders (TPO), in Henby Way.

People living in Henby Way, off Gordon Avenue, fear the proposals, which include plans to replace the trees elsewhere, are a way for the developer to gain access to the site, as stated on the application, which would require a separate planning application.

The concerns and complaints of families in the area prompted Broadland District Council to organise today's open meeting at its headquarters on Yarmouth Road. A further meeting will take place on May 25 at 5pm.

Phil Courtier, Broadland District Council's head of development, management and conservation, who chaired the meeting, revealed the application was yet to be determined, but said even if the felling and replacement was approved, the access to the site would be a different matter. He said: 'The road is not part of the application. It would have to be part of a completely separate application; this application is for the trees only.'

Gary Leverett, 54, from Howard Close, off Henby Way, was one of those to ask why the application could not be rejected as it was flawed in that the reason given for the felling was access to the site.Stephen Chesney-Beales, the council's conservation officer, said the decision had to be made with regard to the state of the trees only as that is what the planning inspector would look at if it was rejected and not the prospect of any future development.

Mr Courtier said the submitted trees application would have to be determined now and could not wait for a planning application for the site to be lodged.

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