9 November 2020
Greens Protest Loss of Trees at Norwich School
Thorpe Hamlet ward Green Party councillors have objected to planning proposals to build a new refectory at The Norwich School because they believe it could have 'a devastating effect' on wildlife.
Councillor Ben Price, who has, for the last eight years, represented the Thorpe Hamlet area, which includes the site of the Norwich School and Norwich Cathedral, has formally objected to an application which will be heard by Norwich City Council's planning committee on Thursday. The school's plans are to demolish the existing school dining room and redevelop the site for new dining and teaching facilities. However, similar plans were refused by the council's planning committee in July 2019 because they would have resulted in the loss of twelve valuable trees from the city centre, with a significant, negative, impact on biodiversity and visual amenity. The second reason given for refusal at that time was that some harm would have been caused to the heritage asset. The Norwich School has put in a new application which includes planting more new trees on the school site and at other sites which the school owns.
Councillor Price said:
"This application will have a devastating impact on wildlife and nature conservation in this area by removing a rich habitat, resulting in a greater threat to a number of species. The previous application submitted by the Norwich School was refused because the committee felt it was wrong for these important trees, which create an important wildlife corridor, to be removed. It's shocking that a London Plane which could be 200 years old, and is protected by a Tree Protection Order, could be felled. As there has been no material change in the new application, councillors need to uphold their original decision.
"The school now plans to plant trees as replacements, some within the grounds and also a large number outside of the city centre, which Greens would always welcome, but the school should be looking to do this kind of planting anyway, as well as keeping the mature trees. There was a large public outcry when two trees were lost in Tombland last week, and we can't keep chipping away at mature trees in the city centre.
"I am particularly concerned about the quality of air in the city centre, particularly near schools. Removing trees on school grounds will worsen the quality of the air breathed by schoolchildren. Norwich has been known for its trees for centuries and this tradition should be upheld, now more than ever. We need to protect our existing wildlife corridors, which is why I've called for a biodiversity audit of the city."
The city's planning committee is made up of nine Labour councillors, two Green Party councillors and one Liberal Democrat, although councillors are not expected to vote along party lines on planning applications. The application before them seeks permission for six classrooms as well as a dining hall which could be used as a concert hall and for conferences. Both Green Party ward councillors, Ben Price and Lesley Grahame, have made formal objections to the scheme.
Further information from
Councillor Ben Price email@example.com
Details of the planning committee meeting on Thursday 12th November 2020 can be found here: