Glimpse at future of Thetford
Rebecca Gough ALMOST a thousand people in Thetford were given a first glimpse into the future of their town at a public consultation.
ALMOST a thousand people in Thetford were given a first glimpse into the future of their town at a public consultation.
The Moving Thetford Forward partnership opened its doors at a three-day event in the town's Carnegie Rooms to display designs and plans for new projects and development which will directly affect the town and the people in it.
Designs for a new bus interchange between London Road and Minstergate, plans for thousands of new homes at the north of the town, improvements to the town centre, and plans for a new skate park were just some of the issues people were able to comment on.
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The bus interchange saw a steady crowd gathered around its plans on Friday and Saturday, as people eager to see where it would be, what form it would take and what would happen to the old site, found out more.
Project manager, Dan Haigh, said the plans had gone down well. “The key is to make the interchange as accessible as possible,” he said.
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“Not just for busses but so people don't feel intimidated after hours when they're waiting for that last bus. The majority of people have been really positive.”
Others headed straight for designs showing plans for new housing on land between Thetford and the A11 which could bring up to 6,000 new jobs and 5,000 new homes to the area.
Development advisor for property company Pigeon, Vittorio Davico , said: “We want to gather as much feedback as we can. Quite often consultation can be fragmented but having the three days here to get everybody through we can is a chance for us to really get it right.”
And just around the corner were brand new plans for a skate park on land behind Thetford's Healthy Living Centre. Officials are now searching for a group of youngsters to advise on what form it should take and will be visiting high schools in the area.
Breckland Council has agreed to fund half of the project, and is also searching for a partner to match fund the project.
Pride in Breckland coordinator, Richard Wills, said: “We've been guilty in the past of building things and kids coming along and us finding it's not what they want. This is something they can be proud of and take ownership of.”
Public response was mixed as most welcomed the regeneration and the chance to find out more. Others however, felt it was a little too much talk and not enough action.
Daphne Clarke, 76, from Highlands in Thetford, said she had grown up in the town and was all in favour of the changes.
“It's nice to see what's going on,” she said. “We were interested in plans around Fulmerston Road and I think they're good.
“We also wanted to see plans for the town centre as we don't have proper shops here. We would like a small supermarket; all we've got is cheap shops and estate agents.”
But one gentleman, who wanted to remain anonymous, said: “It's all just in the planning stage. I wonder what all the excitement is about. It's all talk and no action.”
Deputy chief executive of Breckland Council, Mark Stokes, said: “Every member of the public has their own view but it's important to listen, understand and take on board their comments and respond to them in a positive manner. If the feeling is this is the way they would like to be told, then we will do this again.”
People can find out more about the latest plans for Thetford at the Moving Thetford Forward website at www.movingthetfordforwad.com, which will be updated daily.