Thetford town centre masterplan to be produced

A town centre masterplan for Thetford will be produced in a bid to counter critics who believe regeneration has not been addressed in the area.

This will look at transport links in the town, road configurations and other areas in the “public realm”.

It follows criticism of the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP), recently adopted by Breckland Council, which proposes building 5,000 new homes to the north of the town and moving 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 and that not enough attention had been paid to existing areas of the town.

Both Thetford Town Council and the Shadwell Estate are currently investigating whether to launch a legal challenge against the TAAP.

A report produced following the decision to appoint a company called Allies and Morrison to draw up the masterplan, said: “The project will bring together the three tiers of local government to look at land assets in the town centre and it will address concerns raised through the area action plan process that town centre regeneration is not a priority.”

It went on: “The TAAP identified that a town centre masterplan was needed and the early delivery of this key protect will help reduce risk of challenge to the TAAP as well as providing a clear commitment to addressing town centre issues in advance of the planned growth to the north of the town.”

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The council sent invitations to 12 consultancies, with eight submissions returned, and five were invited to interview on June 28 with a panel including Breckland council officers and representatives from Norfolk County Council and Thetford Town Council.

Allies and Morrison was appointed at a cost of �77,132.50. Breckland Council’s budget was �80,000, which included a �20,000 contribution from Norfolk County Council.