Calls for government to intervene in Thetford growth plans

Councillors in Thetford have voted to push the government to “call in” proposed growth plans for the town, despite a refusal already received by a local heritage group.

Representatives from the Thetford Society tabled a request to Thetford Town Council for a letter to be drawn up after it did the same some weeks ago.

And despite a reply from the secretary for state for communities and local government, Eric Pickles, refusing the suggestion, stating that the matter was not of “national importance”, the town council will now take up the mantle.

Speaking in front of councillors on Wednesday, chair of the Thetford Society and saxon ward member, Stuart Wright, asked his colleagues to draw up a request in the same vein as that from the Thetford Society.

The proposals for growth, set out in the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP), include plans to build 5,000 new homes to the north of the town and move the town centre bus station to land near Minstergate while redeveloping its existing Bridge Street site with shops, cafes, a hotel and cinema.

Critics believe this could lead to a two-tier town centre, that not enough attention had been paid to existing areas of the town and that the bus station should be regenerated on its existing site.

The letter, which was agreed to by nine votes to five, with two abstentions, will be sent as soon as possible and ask Mr Pickles to reconsider his decision.

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It comes just weeks after the nearby Shadwell Estate lodged papers with the High Court in a direct legal challenge against the TAAP.