Photographs of Thorpe woodlands, their varied habitats, plantlife and wildlife all taken by friends and supporters. most taken between 2010 and 2013

Friday, 29 July 2011

Charette's return?

A year after Broadland Land Group spent a vast sum on Andres Duany's services in heading their 'charette', it seems they are about to do it all over again. Their first attempt having seriously backfired, they have dropped Duany and engaged Matrix Partnership, another expensive, but English-based planning consultancy.

Matrix has published a very meagre summary of its take on Thorpe Wood on its website:

Note that Matrix are perpetuating Duany's and BLG's long-discredited description of the woods as "a former pine plantation". Whether this is how they see the woods themselves (IF they've seen the woods themselves!), or whether this wording was dictated by BLG, we have no way of knowing - but we can guess!

The most striking thing about Matrix's website is the plan-view image showing how the development would look. It has clearly been decided that by sacrificing Belmore and Brown's Plantations, BLG stand a better chance of gaining some support for obliterating Racecourse.

Obliterating is not too strong a word to use: it is hard to see, on Matrix's scribbled impression, just what would go where. But close inspection reveals that Racecourse (we've outlined the boundary in red to make it clearer) would be cut in two by a major road cutting through the wood and meadowland to its north, just east of Greenborough Road. They call this an 'inner link road'. On both sides of the road, practically the whole of Racecourse wood would be turned into housing estate, just like before. A bit of green to the east and south hints at some tree retention and softens the impression a little - but no matter how you look at it, Racecourse, with all it's rich wildlife is gone.

Elsewhere on the Matrix website, references can be found to their liking for, among other things, charettes. So maybe the people of Thorpe and Norwich will be treated to yet another charade, again cleverly designed to lull people into believing that the wood really isn't much good, and will be enhanced by building all over it.

Interestingly, Broadland District Council were unaware of Matrix's involvement and knew nothing about the new plan concept until we told them. BLG had already blown their credibility in the eyes of the public long ago, but if any traces remained, these have now vanished. Last year they declared their sincere intention to keep the public informed of any changes: this proves their sincerity to be non-existent.


  1. An 'inner link road' cutting right through the wood? Are they insane? That's actually worse than just housing on it's own, because a busy link road would be a very real barrier to wildlife movement.

  2. Good point, though if these plans (or anything like them) went ahead, there wouldn't be any wildlife left to be affected!