Thetford: Anger grows and tempers flare over plans for growth of the town

A PLAN for growth in Thetford has been formally adopted in a debate in which the town council was accused of “petty politics”.

Speaking at the Breckland Council meeting, Conservative Upper Wensum ward member Bill Borrett said he found Thetford Town Council “churlish” and added that no other town had the same time and effort spent on redevelopment plans.

The criticism came during discussion of the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP) which covers growth in the town until 2026 including 5,000 new homes and regeneration of the town centre by moving the bus station to land between Minstergate and St Nicholas Street while redeveloping its existing Bridge Street site. Councillors, Terry Jermy, Carl Clark and Pauline Quadling, who all also sit on Thetford Town Council, voted against the plans but Mr Borrett said he believed they were good for the people of Thetford.

“I find it churlish that Thetford Town Council has chosen to be like this at this late stage. It smacks to me of petty politics,” he said.

The leader of Breckland Council, William Nunn, added: “We have pieces of land which we need to bring together so we can do what’s right and proper for these communities and until all three parties come together and lay their cards on the table, I think Thetford will be one of the best bypassed towns in Norfolk.”

The plans have been contentious among residents, with both the town council and the nearby Shadwell Estate considering legal challenges. Thetford town mayor Terry Lamb told the meeting he would abstain from the vote, while the independent member for Thetford’s Abbey ward, Pauline Quadling, said: “We represent the people of Thetford and we have to listen to the people.”

Leader of Breckland Labour Party and Thetford Saxon ward councillor Terry Jermy said he was not against growth, but feared the TAAP would create a “two centre” town, and do little to enhance residents’ lives.

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Conservative Thetford Guildhall member Pam Spencer, however, pointed out not everyone on Thetford Town Council was against the TAAP. “If Thetford doesn’t accept this... we will be left behind,” she said.