A town that was once the ancient capital of East Anglia will be protected under new rules that hope to attract more funding into the region. 

Breckland Council has put together a new set of rules that seek to protect some of Thetford's most historic buildings and rich heritage. 

It is hoped that the move will attract more investment from partners such as Historic England and has already helped to leverage £250,000 of funding for a new 'cultural masterplan'.

The new document, which has been reviewed for the first time in 50 years, provides updated guidance for people seeking to make improvements and alterations to properties in the town. 

Terry Jermy, vice-chairman of Breckland Council and Labour candidate for South West Norfolk, said: "Myself and other Thetford members very much welcome this document.

"A review has been long overdue and the team have clearly produced something comprehensive that will help Thetford to move forward with conservation and heritage given more thought and attention which can only be positive.

"We are so fortunate to be surrounded by so much heritage and it is important we protect and enhance such features for future generations."

Thetford & Brandon Times: Councillor Terry JermyCouncillor Terry Jermy (Image: Submitted)

It recommends that the council prioritise the maintenance of buildings, the preservation of open space and the use of high-quality shop fronts for businesses when dealing with planning applications. It is hoped that this "commitment to preserving heritage" will attract more funding into the region. 

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Thetford & Brandon Times: The report criticises modern housing in Old Market StreetThe report criticises modern housing in Old Market Street (Image: Google Maps)Councillor Paul Hewett said: "Thetford is the jewel in the crown of the whole of South Norfolk - it's a town that's steeped in architecture.

"It's very much a thriving place to live. These rules may need to change with time but this is a good starting point."

Thetford has a rich history and was once East Anglia's ancient capital and remains the fourth largest settlement in the county.

It is known as the birthplace of Thomas Paine, one of the United States of America's 'founding fathers', and it was also used as the backdrop to the classic BBC wartime sitcom, Dad's Army.