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Planners investigate whether church broke rules in felling trees

PUBLISHED: 16:23 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 10:10 20 September 2018

The aftermath of work to clear church owned land in Pulham St Mary. Picture: Clayton Hudson

The aftermath of work to clear church owned land in Pulham St Mary. Picture: Clayton Hudson

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Planners are investigating whether the Diocese of Norwich breached planning rules when it chopped down trees in a Norfolk village.

The church owned land that has been cleared in Pulham St Mary as seen from above. Picture: Clayton HudsonThe church owned land that has been cleared in Pulham St Mary as seen from above. Picture: Clayton Hudson

Work to clear a plot of church-owned land in Pulham St Mary has seen it stripped of vegetation while a number of trees have been felled.

The stark aftermath of the work has angered nature lovers in the south Norfolk village who saw the land, behind homes in The Street, opposite the village church St Mary the Virgin, as a valuable habitat.

South Norfolk Council has confirmed it is now investigating whether a breach in planning rules had occurred over the removal of trees in a conservation area.

South Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson who has questioned the work in Pulham St Mary. Picture: South Norfolk CouncilSouth Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson who has questioned the work in Pulham St Mary. Picture: South Norfolk Council

Notice is required for works to trees located in conservation areas that have a trunk diameter of more than 75mm measured at 1.5m from ground level.

South Norfolk councillor Clayton Hudson, who represents the village, said: “It has been decimated. I refer to it now as the desert. This was a piece of shrub land with self-planted trees and brambles and was a good nature habit and unfortunately that has been lost.

“The cynic in me suggests that they didn’t want those trees to be there. Maybe it was a genuine mistake but the thing that annoys people is that if this had been a private individual there would be uproar and that individual would probably find themselves in court being fined. I hope that the Diocese of Norwich is held to the same standards. In my view they should know better.”

A Diocese of Norwich spokesperson said: “We are aware of concerns raised to South Norfolk District Council following work undertaken to land at Pulham St Mary. We have and will co-operate with the council fully in respect of the issues raised.

“Work was undertaken to maintain the land in a safe and manageable condition as part of a program across the Diocese portfolio, with the vegetation having previously been cleared on this site in 2015.

“We informed the residents of houses adjoining the land of the planned work in advance of the works being undertaken.”

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