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Homes plan upsets wildlife rescue centre

PUBLISHED: 19:41 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:11 12 July 2010

Fears were raised about the future of a Norfolk wildlife rescue centre on Wednesday after a developer appealed against the refusal of a major housing scheme.

Fears were raised about the future of a Norfolk wildlife rescue centre on Wednesday after a developer appealed against the refusal of a major housing scheme.

South Norfolk Councillors last year threw out controversial plans by Pelham Holdings for more than 300 new houses that would erode an area of countryside between Wymondham and Hethersett.

The owners of Wymondham Wildlife Rescue yesterday spoke of their concern after the developer appealed against the refusal of 323 dwellings on land north of Norwich Common.

Stan and Joan Hawes have looked after thousands of sick and injured wild mammals and birds of prey for the last 40 years at their home, which borders the greenfield site.

They fear that they would no longer be able to take in new rescue cases and would not be able to release their recovered animals into the wild, if an appeal was granted.

A South Norfolk Council planning committee rejected the Pelham Holdings proposals for Norwich Common in November, saying that the scheme would prove detrimental to the landscape and would contribute to urban sprawl.

But the owners of Wymondham Wildlife Rescue are concerned that a planning inspector may overturn the decision for the 12ha area of farmland following a public inquiry last month .

Lisa Hawes, who runs the voluntary-run organisation with her parents, said they were “very worried” about the application, which they have been fighting for the last two years.

“These beautiful open fields have been a perfect rehabilitation and releasing area for injured wildlife, which have recovered and are able to return to the wild. If it is developed on, then we are no longer able to do this.”

“The area is a haven for various unusual species of bats, newts, woodlands and wild flowers including orchids. If this housing development is passed, which I believe it will be, then it will have devastating results to our sanctuary,” she said.

The sanctuary currently has around 200 animals in its care, including owls, falcons, stoats, weasels, hedgehogs, and squirrels, and takes in birds of prey from police and RSPB cases.

No one was available from the Kent-based Pelham Holdings yesterday, but a spokesman previously said that the development would help create 114 affordable houses in Wymondham.

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