Riverbank Destruction at Trowse

Live and let live; that has always been my motto. It seems this motto isn’t respected by everyone. It’s a sad day when you wake up to pictures on Twitter of a place you have loved and enjoyed for many years stripped bare of trees and foliage.

I used to trek over the bridges in Trowse on a daily basis to visit my mum who lived there. Mum loved nature with a passion, most particularly birds. During the day I would look out for Kingfishers and herons. At night I would be happy to spot the night heron and hopeful of seeing an otter. On summer nights, we loved to see bats darting around under the bridge. Sometimes we could hear an owl hoot.

I used to take pictures to show mum when she could no longer mobilize. Thankfully, she can’t see the pictures below, because she is no longer with us, but I know for sure her first words to me would be: what can be done about this? Who is responsible? She would have been so upset to see this, as would her neighbours, some of whom have lived in the village for all of their lives.

As soon as I saw the pictures, I walked over to Trowse to see for myself. It was a sorry sight. While I knew developers were ready to start work on site, I didn’t realize they would be stripping the riverbanks. ancient woodland, wildlife habitats.

I took some pictures and videos, met a local lady on one of the bridges who didn’t do social media, but had a lot to say about what had happened. She was equally devastated to see it all. Then I went home and tweeted the pictures. Today, I spent a lot of time on Twitter messaging people to try to find out who was responsible for the destruction of the beautiful river banks of Trowse, and received really helpful and informative responses.

It came as no surprise to see the strength of reaction to this. Everyone appreciates the site is to be developed. I’m sure most people welcome new housing and the proposed sites being developed sympathetically, but the destruction of nature naturally wasn’t received with anything other than shock and horror. It is brutal.

What could I do? I immediately uploaded my videos and pictures onto Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, knowing there would be many people feeling exactly as I did – horrified, upset and wanting to know who is responsible. I kept the threads going, determined not to let the subject fritter away, only to get forgotten. Not that it ever will be by anyone who passes through Trowse from now on.

Stripping natural habitat during nesting season is illegal. A farmer was recently sentenced to jail for carrying out a similar act, albeit he didn’t have planning permission, as I believe this developer does.

I tweeted South Norfolk and Broadland District Council who assured me they would be thoroughly investigating the matter. I asked for a timeline, but they couldn’t give one, so I emailed the MD who, to his credit replied by return promising he would forward my email to the planning department and revert to me tomorrow. I also emailed the Forestry Commission. I tweeted the EDP, who had already covered the story. I messaged friends who rallied and also tweeted.

Without exception, everyone who commented, tweeted and messaged were appalled by what they saw. This tells a story in itself, everyone loves and values nature and can’t bear to see it stripped away so savagely, even more so in spring.

Hopefully, whoever is responsible for this will be held to account. Of course, none of this will bring the trees and foliage back. I am only thankful I don’t go over those bridges everyday now, but I will be keeping check on the next phase, hopefully we are not about to see more nature stripped away.

I will keep you updated with developments.

Update 10 May 2023 – Public Consultation Meetings – please read for dates/times/locations.

How the river banks look now.

The way they were.

Author: Petra Kidd

Norfolk UK is my home, I live in Norwich by the River Wensum where everyday there is something different to see and learn. I feel a big affinity with the river as I grew up in Cambridge, another great river city. My childhood and teens involved many walks along the Cam where we would watch 'The Bumps,' raft races and as we grew older we enjoyed adventures on our punting pub crawls. Growing up in a multi cultural university city definitely influenced my reading choices, I am a big fan of Japanese fiction, love French literature and enjoy Shakespeare. As a young teen I entertained myself with Jilly Cooper and Dick Francis and then became quite obsessed with Henri Charriere's Papillon. At school all I cared about was English, Art and French, in that exact order. When I finished with school I went to live and work in Greece for a wonderful year before returning to study English Literature and Sociology. At this point I read more classics like the Wyf of Bath, Wuthering Heights and Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man plus poets such as Wilfred Owen. My first UK full time job was with Heffer's Paperbacks where I devoured several books at a time, excited by the fact I could borrow what I liked. Bizarrely for me I remember reading The Zurich Axioms, I have no interest in the stock markets but it had me gripped. I can't remember why I picked it up but I have never forgotten it. Heffers introduced me to so many authors, via their books and sometimes in person. It was here I learned about all the genres, it fascinated me that science fiction and horror were so popular, I tried reading it all. Aside from writing letters, it didn't really ever occur to me to write anything myself for many years as I worked my way through a variety of interesting and varied jobs. Then on a visit to the London Aquarium I became struck by an idea so powerful I sat down and wrote my first novel. It went nowhere as really I wrote it because I wanted to. I wrote another novel and again, didn't have the persistance or determination to take it further, I simply enjoyed the process of writing and my characters. Then years later another idea struck me and during a severe bout of Pleurisy where I couldn't do anything physical for months, I wrote the Eight of Swords and The Putsi. This time I published them as ebooks and they became pretty popular. When I fully recovered, I had to concentrate on my business and looking after my mother who has various health issues and the writing went adrift again for many years until 2020 when the Coronavirus pandemic hit the world. March 2020 I moved to my apartment alongside the Wensum to live alone for the first time ever. During the first lockdown I began to write a diary and then the idea for a new set of short stories came to me and in February 2021 they will be published. The Covid-19 Pandemic is not simply a scary virus, it is a historical time and here we are trying to live through it. To many it will feel like a punishment but to me as a writer, in some ways, it came as a gift. Please stay as safe and as well as you can. I hope to entertain you with my stories as we all try to get through this together, even though we are apart. Petra

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