Fears 350 home plan will cut down woodland

A map of the proposed development south of Norwich Road in North Walsham.

A map of the proposed development south of Norwich Road in North Walsham. - Credit: Hopkins Homes

Measures to protect trees will not stop plans to build 350 new homes on the outskirts of a north Norfolk town.

Fresh plans to develop 343 homes on a site next to North Walsham Garden Centre, on Nursery Drive, have been submitted to North Norfolk District Council (NNDC). 

However, a neighbour has continued to raise concerns about the scheme, arguing it would see the destruction of a small woodland on the site between Norwich Road and the A149. 

Around 700 people previously signed a petition against the loss of woodland, while the plans were going through consultation.

The woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of being removed for

The woodland site behind the North Walsham Garden Centre which is under threat of being removed for new housing. - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

In April this led councillors to put in place a tree protection order for the area, a legally enforceable protection on specific trees.  

Hopkins Homes, the developer behind the scheme, argues no protected trees on Nursery Drive will be damaged - although some in the area will have to be removed - and that there will be wider benefits for the community.

One Smedley Close resident wrote to NNDC's planning department to object to the latest plans due to the loss of woodland.

They said: "I object to the area that will be removing the woodland that already is home to so much wildlife, deer, owls, buzzards, bats, squirrels, foxes and more.

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"These trees are over 60 years old. It provides a lovely area and separation from the houses along the track."

The resident called for the space to be protected to encourage and protect biodiversity in the area.

The development will also include space for a care home, almost nine acres have been set aside for open space - such as play areas or a community orchard - and seven self-build plots.

The existing garden centre and Ladbrook manufacturing will be retained.

Jonathan Lieberman, head of planning at Hopkins Homes, said all the company's plans have been informed by tree surveys and retaining as much of the existing vegetation has been a "key principle" of their design.

He said: “The trees on Nursery Drive, which are protected by an existing Tree Preservation Order, will not be impacted by the development proposals.

“The proposal will also include significant new tree planting throughout the site as well as allotments, a community orchard, significant areas of open space and sustainable urban drainage basins, which will be planted with native thicket and trees to help enhance biodiversity.

“We remain committed to listening to and responding positively to any concerns raised by the local community.”