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

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Thorpe Woodlands development proposed again against overwhelming advice and opinion

Socially Conscious Capital, the latest firm to be tasked with selling development on Thorpe Woodlands have officially revealed their plans, another attempt by the landowners to profit from building on the City edge County Wildlife Site. Again their plan focuses on Racecourse wood, the largest and most bio diverse habitat. SCC's website arrogantly proclaims "Welcome to the Racecourses" and goes on to say that they wish to provide a new 'Community Woodland' with quality housing. "An imaginative proposal to create over 125 acres of family friendly, publicly accessible woodland park"

The Thorpe Woodlands we have is over 200 acres and already provides recreation and a locally exceptional habitat for wildlife, it hardly seems imaginative to reduce that to 125 acres by building on the other 75.
Rock Fielding-Mellen speaking for SCC confidently says his preferred development option will give people what they want, this despite a record response opposing any development on Thorpe woodlands in the recent Broadland Public Consultation. 2440 responses almost all totally opposed to any loss of the woodlands.

Socially Conscious Capital are completely ignoring this and total opposition from the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, RSPB, CPRE and Natural England in campaigning for development. 
It is likely that they hope to gain momentum for their Building option by side stepping the local planning process already underway, hoping to put pressure on local councillors and planners who will decide whether the Woodlands are excluded or included in the development area.   

Socially Conscious Capital's very green looking plan for housing 
on Thorpe Woodlands as it appeared in the press.

The plans as they appear on SCC's website.
(Figures as high as 700 higher end properties have been mentioned) 

Our clarification of what their '50 shades of green' map actually means

A plan on show at SCC's presentation 8th Nov. Showing a much larger area of housing and much more of Racecourse CWS gone. I was told it was out of date and that no numbers have been set.

Norfolk Wildlife Trust completely oppose these development plans
"In our view Racecourse Plantation and Belmore and Browns Plantations should be retained in their entirety as key biodiversity assets and part of the critical natural capital, within the growth triangle and no part of this woodland should be zoned for development".  

Socially Conscious Capital's 'imaginative' plan for housing in a County Wildlife Site woodland.

Fielding-Mellen, Kensington Councillor and managing director of London based company SCC, said: “Recent ecological studies have confirmed that the ecological value and biodiversity of the site have diminished over the last 10 years, and will continue to do so without active management and investment. It is also the case that the majority of the woods are overgrown and inaccessible to local people". All of this is totally at odds with NWT studies and the experience of local people who regularly walk there.

Seemingly as a threat if development is not accepted, Rock has also presented option 2, a forestry option for Thorpe Woodlands. This return to commercial forestry, so Rock has been keen to emphasise in what seems to be a thinly veiled threat, would result in a reduction in public access. Again this is misleading.
Only last week the Norfolk Wildlife Trust and Forestry Commission told the Friends that in their view it would be entirely possible for the owners of the woods to allow public access and enhance their wildlife value whilst carrying out commercial felling and coppicing. Examples of this include Foxley and Bacton Woods, areas of work are taped off with signs warning the public of the work in progress, a wood never needs closing to the public.

Friends of Thorpe Woodland welcome SCC's Forestry Option

Friends of Thorpe Woodlands welcome this option which would retain the woodlands as a whole and make a reasonable and sustainable profit for the landowner. If forestry is carried out responsibly as the UK Forestry Standard (which the Forestry Commission would insist upon before granting felling licences) would demand, this would retain and improve the ecology of the woodlands and provide for public recreation. Ironically we called for this in our very first blog over three years ago.
(link to that blog)
Within the growth triangle not one house needs to be built on woodland, let alone such an exceptionally valuable site for wildlife and the local community. As Broadland District Council states: Thorpe Woodlands are a core site for bio diversity and a key link in our green infrastructure strategy.

Racecourse's rich ecosystem has thrived without management other than timber extraction (profitable for the owners) since before 2000. It's a ridiculous idea, or maybe just "imaginative" to suggest that building hundreds of houses with roads, car parks and parks across it will somehow save this woodland and nature from itself and improve a mosaic of habitats,  the existence of which they are so busy trying to downplay.

As we did 3 years ago we appeal to all to reject the completely unnecessary building plans and welcome the Forestry Option. This would be a sustainable future for this beautiful and historic woodland, an income for the landowners and a valuable woodland resource saved for Norwich and its people.

(In the Broadland Consultation 2440 responses were received on the Thorpe Woodlands questions, Broadland's largest ever response on a single issue. Over 99% of those 2440 were totally opposed to any building on Thorpe Woodlands)


  1. I wish I had known about this meeting that was held in Thorpe, and I am really annoyed that no-one told me about it. I am supposed to be a Parish Tree Warden but I was not notified about the meeting by either the would-be developers or my own council.
    Which is all terribly depressing.
    This is the last throw of the dice I think, after 20 years of trying to get planning consent for housing on the woodland the owners know that if they don't get it this time they will be unlikely to get it once the whole of the surrounding area is built on, which will soon be the case under the 'Growth Triangle'.

  2. What a bunch of lying slimeballs these people are. Look at their website if you dare, its full of utter bullsh*t but it looks very pretty. Anyone would think they were interested in nature, not trying to make loads of money by turning 75 acres of wood into a housing estate. They must be stopped, good luck to you all.