Thorpe woodlands are under threat. Racecourse, Belmore and Brown's Plantations are a County Wildlife Site, a superb wildlife habitat and green space for the Norwich area. The present owners of this natural heritage, plan to prosper by building a large housing estate with new roads across it. The purpose of this blog is to inform you about the campaign to save these woodlands and their wildlife.
Photographs of Thorpe woodlands, their varied habitats, plantlife and wildlife all taken by friends and supporters. most taken between 2010 and 2013
There is a saying that rust never sleeps and this is true of those well heeled and connected folk who've dedicated much of their time to trying to make a fast buck from building on Thorpe Woodlands.
The trustees of the Thorpe & Felthorpe Trust inherited the woodlands from their now late grandfather John Gurney, who's vision some say contained a little more social conscience. The estate's Forest Plan at least foresaw no development on the woods, rather a gradual improvement of habitat. For the 12 years since John Gurney's passing, the T&FT have striven to secure planning permission to build on Thorpe's woods. Gaining access to every level of planning decision-making possible, even sitting on Green Infrastructure and Sustainability committees while at the same time planning to profit from burying long standing woodland under housing. They've employed one PR firm or development group after another, with the woods presented as little more than redundant pine plantation, conveniently omitting to mention rare species, diverse wildlife habitat and glowing Norfolk Wildlife Trust assessments.
Now with Broadland District Council set to lay out new planning options for the Growth Triangle for consultation in March, The Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust have found another PR ally to sell their plans. Rock Fielding-Mellen, Councillor for Royal Borough of Kensington under the guise of one of his companies 'Socially Conscious Capital' is to become front man in driving roughshod over County Wildlife Site assessments, Ancient Woodland declarations and local public opinion.
This could be their last chance to get their 'quick quid' out of the nature they inherited; BDC could exclude the Woods from the development zone in the light of new Norfolk Wildlife Trust assessments.
Rock Fielding-Mellon has very recently set up a whole new branch of his company "Socially Conscious Capital (Norwich)", presumably with the sole aim of lobbying for development on Thorpe's woods. Rock has also been 'introduced' by Gail Mayhew to the clerk of Thorpe St Andrew Town Council. We feel slightly suspicious of the motive for this officially private introductory meeting. Rock and Gail must have some plan up their sleeve, and if the opportunity to introduce it was not taken there, we can only assume it will be aired as little as possible until a time of best advantage and manoeuvring in the Councils planning procedure. We can be sure that quietly, something is being planned, and from previous experience it's not likely to be good news for the woodlands' trees, wildlife or the people of Thorpe and Norwich. We've contacted Socially Conscious Capital to ask what their vision for 'good urbanism' will mean for a County Wildlife Site Woodland, we wait with interest.
Socially Conscious Capital's 'urban vision' is at: