The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands together with a number of local councillors have stated their opposition to an invitation only meeting that has been organised by the owners of the woods.
Socially Conscious Capital and Turley Associates, agents for the owners of the wood Thorpe and Felthorpe Trust, have invited a picked audience to attend a presentation in which they will set out their plans to develop the woods. It is understood that the proposals will include building up to 700 houses on the site. Local Councillors Ian Mackie, Nigel Shaw and Stephen Freeman – Pannett have said that they oppose an invitation only meeting, especially when open meetings have been held elsewhere. Councillor Ian Mackie said that the meeting could leave those who attend the meeting open to the charge of “holding restricted and less than transparent practices”.
Friends of Thorpe Woodlands feel that the meeting could be a PR exercise designed to side step the local planning process, the growing environmental case for preserving the woodlands, and the overwhelming public opposition to any building on Thorpe Woodlands. This being most clearly expressed in the recent Broadland District Council Consultation which asked local people for their views on where within the Growth Triangle they thought future housing development should be sited. Questions 23 and 24 of that consultation asked if people supported the development of Thorpe Woods, in response the council received 2440 replies from local people and bodies such as the RSPB, The Woodland Trust, Natural England, CPRE and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, these responses opposed any development of Thorpe Woods. This response was one of the largest ever received by the council on a single issue.
The Friends of Thorpe Woodlands would welcome a council chaired public meeting to discuss the future of Thorpe Woods but will not support, or play any part in, a private meeting that is being organised to promote the development of housing on the site of the woods.
The Friends continue to oppose any plans that threaten this unique and much loved green space and call upon the council to respect the views expressed by local people in response to their own consultation.