Thetford Area Action plan formally adopted
13:20 05 July 2012
A plan for growth in Thetford was formally adopted today (Thursday) amid debate in which the town council was accused of “petty politics”.
Speaking at the Breckland Council meeting, Conservative Upper Wensum ward member, Bill Borrett, said he found Thetford Town Council “churlish” and added that, in his view, no other town had the same time and effort spent on redevelopment plans.
The criticism came during discussions and debate on the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP) which proposes growth plans in the town until 2026.
Three councillors, Terry Jermy, Carl Clark and Pauline Quadling, who all also sit on Thetford Town Council, voted against the recommendation to adopt the plans, but Mr Borret said he believed they were “good” for the people of Thetford.
“I find it churlish that Thetford Town Council has chosen to be like this at this late stage - it smacks to me of petty politics,” he said. “This has ultimately been done for the people of Thetford and has been consulted on and examined a number of times and an enormous amount time has been spent on it.
“It’s good for the people of Thetford and we should adopt it.”
Leader of Breckland Council, William Nunn, added: “We all have pieces of land in that town which we need to bring together so we can do what’s right and proper for these communities, and until all three parties come together and lay their cards on the table I think Thetford will be one of the best bypassed towns in Norfolk.”
The TAAP includes proposals for 5,000 new homes to the north of Thetford and regeneration of the town centre by moving the bus station to a patch of land between Minstergate and St Nicholas Street while redeveloping its existing Bridge Street site.
The plans have been contentious amongst residents of the town however, with both the town council and the nearby Shadwell Estate exploring whether to launch legal challenges. Speaking at the meeting, Thetford town mayor Terry Lamb said he would abstain from the vote, while Independent member for Thetford’s Abbey ward, Pauline Quadling, said: “We represent the people of Thetford and we have to listen to the people. We wouldn’t be good councillors if we didn’t.”
Leader of Breckland Labour Party and Thetford saxon ward councillor, Terry Jermy, said he was not against growth, but did object to the TAAP on the grounds he believed it would create a “two centre” town, would do little to enhance residents’ lives, and were not thought through.
Conservative Thetford guildhall member, Pam Spencer, however pointed out not everyone on Thetford Town Council was against the TAAP.
“This has been going on for years and if Thetford doesn’t accept this and move on we will be left behind,” she added. “People will bypass us on the new A11 and we will get nothing.”
The vote was carried.