Residents in King’s Lynn are protesting against a plan to build industrial units on what they describe as a wildlife haven at the back of their homes.
The land sits behind King’s Avenue and Extons Place and is bordered by the Hardwick Industrial Estate on the other side.
If approved, the plan could see 19 industrial storage and distribution units on the 4.6-acre site, with 77 trees felled and a further 30 reduced in size.
Campaigners say wildlife surveys of the site show it is populated by kingfishers, owls, green and great spotted woodpeckers, herons, jays, hedgehogs, bats, toads, newts, moths, bees, butterflies and a host of other creatures.
Kerron Abel, of 9 King’s Avenue, held a meeting attended by 40 people and three councillors.
A petition signed by around 200 people has already been submitted to West Norfolk Council and 34 people have lodged objections to the proposal.
“We are not very happy about the plans to build there, it is a nice piece of natural land,” said Mr Abel.
“I’m really passionate about King’s Lynn and like to stand-up for what I believe is correct.
“We disagree it is wasteland. It is a place of natural beauty and a haven with wildlife living on it.
“When is King’s Lynn going to stop putting concrete and asphalt everywhere?”
In a comment on the application another objector said: “The natural beauty of this area, if destroyed, will be lost forever and future generations will despair at what vandalism was allowed to be carried out for financial gain.”
Norfolk Wildlife Trust has expressed concern about the loss of broad-leaved deciduous woodland, a priority habitat under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan.
A Preliminary Ecological Appraisal has noted the importance of tall herb and other vegetation which supports nesting birds. It also said the site has potentially widespread reptile and bat populations.
The plan has been submitted by Guernsey-based developer Apex Platinum Investments Ltd.
The application states the appearance and layout of the units has been carefully considered to ensure they were low-key and complement the character of the site, with colours which fit the green setting.
It describes the area as a vacant commercial site and “overgrown” but admits it “contains significant mature planting/trees”. Some 150 trees would be retained untouched and the development would include bat and bird boxes, with reptile and bat surveys carried out prior to work beginning.
The area also acts as a buffer zone between homes and the industrial estate and residents are concerned about noise and traffic, also the loss of a peaceful place to walk.
Apex’s plans state 40 per cent of the site would remain undeveloped but this would be largely around the perimeter, where trees would be retained closest to housing to help maintain the buffer zone, or along a watercourse running through the site.
The protesters plan to meet on Wednesday at Mr Abel’s house.
Mr Abel said he would like to invite councillors and the developer to attend the meeting to explain why the development was needed.
An online petition has also been set up at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/proposed-development-of-ecological-corridor-kings-lynn-norfolk
The developer’s agent was not available for comment at the time of going to press.
The borough council is scheduled to consider the application on July 12.