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London spill lessons learnt - planner

PUBLISHED: 10:04 02 July 2008 | UPDATED: 21:09 07 July 2010

Lessons have been learnt from the London overspill expansion of Thetford.

That is the message from the civil servant heading up proposals to build 6,000 new homes and create 5,000 jobs in the town.

Lessons have been learnt from the London overspill expansion of Thetford.

That is the message from the civil servant heading up proposals to build 6,000 new homes and create 5,000 jobs in the town.

Richard Kay, who became principal planning officer of Breckland Council's growth point initiative in February, has called on residents to get involved in a huge public consultation exercise, which will help shape the future of the town over the next 20 years.

More than 12,000 questionnaires are currently being distributed across Thetford asking townsfolk their views on where 6,000 homes and 5,000 jobs should go by 2021.

Mr Kay, who previously worked at the Government Office for the East of England, said residents might be suffering from “consultation overload”, but urged people to have their say during the six week process.

He added that it was an “exciting” time for the town and Breckland Council had made no decisions on where the new development should take place as part of the Thetford Area Action Plan.

The draft vision of Thetford and 22 question document aims to seek public opinion on the potential development of ten greenfield and 10 brownfield sites as well as future town centre and infrastructure improvements. Residents are also asked their views about green and open spaces, sports provision, schools, community, and recreation facilities.

Mr Kay said the consultation, which comes to a close on August 5, will not only set the agenda for growth over the next 20 years, but help make changes to the town centre in the short-term.

“I understand people's concerns about this growth and what it means for Thetford, but I see it as an opportunity to make Thetford a great place. Thetford will definitely be a much bigger place in 20 years, but the key to it is focusing on the infrastructure to go with it.”

“A lot of lessons have been learnt from the rapid growth of Thetford and other towns and cities in the 50s and 60s and we are doing a lot to work on the design and layout of estates,” he said.

Mr Kay added that the expansion of Thetford was not likely to be hit by the credit crunch and slow down in the housing market as Breckland was anticipating major building projects starting in 2010/2011. He added that the town needed to make more of its green and historic assets as part of the growth point initiative.

For more information, visit www.movingthetfordforward.com or call the growth point team on 01842 756487.

Consultation meetings will take place at:

Cloverfield Residents' Association - today.

Thetford Society Talk - July 8.

Croxton Parish Council - July 10.

Town Centre Residents' Association - July 10.

Abbey Residents Meeting -July 14.

Barnham Cross Residents' Association - July 15.

Admirals Residents' Meeting- July 22.

Redcastle Residents' Group - July 28.

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