Proposals to fell protected trees draw concerns

Residents objected to plans to build a new house within the Koolunga House's former historic grounds

Koolunga House in Gorleston and its near neighbours are worried about a new bid to chop down trees close to Koolunga House, the site of a recent planning battle. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A bid to fell and cut back mature trees including a Holme Oak said to be around 200 years old is drawing concerns.

The application submitted to Great Yarmouth Borough Council affects six trees, at least some of which are protected, on land once part of the formal gardens of the Grade II listed mansion Koolunga House.

It comes a year after a bid to build on the site was dismissed on appeal by a Government planning inspector citing the need to conserve rare tree species and protect Koolunga as a “heritage asset”.

A planning application was submitted for a new home in the grounds of the Georgian manor Koolunga Ho

The former grounds of Koolunga Gardens were sold at auction in 2017. They have been described as 'a green lung' and neighbours are keen to keep a close eye on the plot. - Credit: Google Maps

The application involved felling at least 23 trees and knocking down part of Koolunga's wall for access.

The land, which is totally enclosed, is understood to have been sold on.

Neighbour Michael Boon, a champion of the site and its history, described the new bid as "pretty savage".

He is calling for an independent assessment of the wooded area by a body like Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

A new access will be made in the wall of Koolunga House in Gorleston if planners allow a scheme for

A new access will be made in the wall of Koolunga House in Gorleston if planners allow a scheme for a single storey home to be built at the plot which was sold at auction in 2017 Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Google Maps


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He said the trees were "an integral part of the nature of the site," adding: "There are very few sites left in Gorleston and the policy now is to plant new trees, and this would knock down mature trees."

He said the application had "popped up out of the blue" and that is was "sensible" to take into account the history of the site and to make as many people aware as possible.

Robert Smith, owner of Koolunga House, built  in 1826 as a luxury holiday home and now divided into seven flats, said he believed one of the trees was among those targeted by a mystery poisoner, and that another - the Holme Oak - was thought to be at least 200 years old.

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He said ideally the gardens should be returned to their former glory with public open days.

A planning application was submitted for a bungalow, garage and new access on land next to Koolunga

A planning application was submitted for a bungalow, garage and new access on land next to Koolunga House in Gorleston. It was refused by borough planners and their decision was upheld on appeal. - Credit: Robert Smith

In his view felling trees that posed no danger to the public could not be justified.

The application states the oak has extensive dieback, others are dead, and another is a "poor specimen."

To have your say by September 22 visit the borough council's planning portal.

One person has objected so far saying: "Is this land going to be built on?"





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