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

Friday, 13 July 2012


The campaign to save Thorpe's woods has passed the two year mark and is still going strong.  On 13th July 2010, the final presentation of the Thorpe & Felthorpe Trust's 'charrette' was held at Norwich Art School.  This followed a presentation at Thorpe village hall, at which Barney Mayhew and Justin Meath-Baker - both posing as ordinary human beings - spoke about their need to find alternative uses for the exhausted conifer plantations they'd found themselves lumbered with.

A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since then.  The lies that were told about the woods - which originally took quite a few people in, including some local authority officers - were long ago exposed for what they were.  Everybody in the Norwich area now knows that Thorpe's woods are excellent wildlife habitats and diverse, mainly broadleaved woodlands - not the disease-ridden, overgrown Christmas tree crops of such little use or ornament that putting them out of their misery would be performing a public service. 

People also know now that there's no reason to pity the plight of the Mayhews and Meath-Bakers.  Contrary to the impression they strove to convey they are not just like the rest of us - hard working ordinary folks who need to tighten their belts in these tough economic times - but are genuine toffs with huge land-holdings and bags of dosh. There is no doubt that they could afford to keep Thorpe's woods, and even spend money on conserving them (as they told us they would love to do), without any noticeable effect on their bank accounts.

Two years on, the Thorpe & Felthorpe Trust is now on its third firm of development consultants.  First they spent a fortune on Andres Duany of DPZ.  When the hoped-for Duany golden touch fell flat (deflated by inconvenient truths), T&FT hired the Matrix Partnership.  Matrix drew up a different development concept (we published pictures on this blog). Matrix's concept shifted things around a bit but failed completely to address the fundamental flaw in the scheme, ie: that it involved flattening a wood!

Now it seems as if Matrix has followed DPZ into the recycling bin, to be replaced by the lovely sounding Socially Conscious Capital.  Socially Conscious Capital's improbably named head has been attending local authority meetings in Norwich under the Thorpe & Felthorpe Trust banner, accompanying Gail Mayhew.

As the cynical among you might expect, Socially Conscious Capital isn't quite the philanthropic, kindly organisation its name suggests.  SCC has an interesting business history and its head has a name to rival Clovis Meath-Baker's in the poshness/oddness stakes.  But you'll have to wait until next time to learn more (unless you want to do a bit of Googling).  Watch this space!

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