Housing firms slammed for removing trees and hedgerows 'in error'

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development on the land by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. - Credit: Archant

Two housing giants have been criticised for cutting down trees and hedgerows – including some outside the permitted zone.

Persimmon Homes and Taylor Wimpey are working together on a 1,200 home project – which could grow by 200 after their latest planning bid – in Hethersett.

Concerns were raised last month over trees and hedgerows along Little Melton Road which have recently been cut down.

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development on the land by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. - Credit: Archant

A spokesperson for Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey said: "All tree and hedgerow removal work is being carried out in accordance with the outline planning consent."

But South Norfolk District Council has now confirmed that some of the vegetation cut down was outside the site for which they had planning permission.

A spokesperson for the council said: "The part of the works which is outside of the application site was unfortunately carried out in error.

"However, the trees are not protected and are not within a conservation area, so no offence was committed.

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey

Trees and hedgerow on Little Melton Road in Hethersett have been cut down ahead of development on the land by Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey. - Credit: Archant

"We will be working with the developer to get the hedgerow replaced once works are complete."

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Concerns were raised that the work may have been carried out without a felling license, but SNDC said the works did not require a licence from the Forestry Commission.

Councillor Bridget Williamson said the loss of habitats meant wildlife was being chased "from pillar to post with nowhere to go".

Bridget Williamson. Teachers' meeting outside the Forum in Norwich. Photo: Bill Smith

Bridget Williamson of Hethersett Parish Council. - Credit: Bill Smith

One Hethersett resident said: "The damage to flora and fauna with the destruction of hedgerows and trees which were probably hundreds of years old is awful for biodiversity and already hard-pressed green space."

A spokesperson for the consortium said: "All of the vegetation clearance was necessary to facilitate the approved highway infrastructure, which include providing a new footway on both sides of Little Melton Road, meaning the retention of a small section of trees would not be possible.

"We are committed to providing a sustainable wildlife habitat which will be delivered alongside the housing within each phase.

"The number, species and location of the replacement trees will be subject to discussion with the local authority during the forthcoming reserved matters applications."

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