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Breckland Council chief executive tells Thetford Town Council to work in partnership on 5,000 homes plan

PUBLISHED: 21:40 29 July 2014 | UPDATED: 21:40 29 July 2014

New Breckland Council Chief Exec Anna Graves. Picture: Matthew Usher.

New Breckland Council Chief Exec Anna Graves. Picture: Matthew Usher.

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2014

A recently installed district council chief has told a sceptical town council it wants to work in partnership on plans for a 5,000 home development.

Anna Graves, Breckland Council’s chief executive since April, tonight urged Thetford Town Council to get round the table with other stakeholders to discuss the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension (SUE), the first phase of which was granted outline planning permission in April.

She suggested an informal meeting between stakeholders including councils, healthcare providers, police, education and others.

“The delivery of 5,000 houses is a massive task in any place, and when I say place, I mean the whole area, not just what is in Thetford’s boundary.

“So this is the start of a conversation of us working in partnership to make sure your voice is heard now, before the detail is put in plans by the developers,” she said.

Several representatives of parish councils, including Croxton, and Brettenham and Kilverstone, attended the meeting in the public gallery. The SUE development lies on land in the boundaries of those parish councils, which border Thetford.

When asked if they wanted to join an informal meeting to discuss the plans, councillor Robert King, from Croxton Parish Council, said it did not as it was already working with Breckland on boundary plans.

Ms Graves also told the town council meeting that Breckland wanted to work with Thetford, after town councillors described the relationship as being “30 years of hurt”.

Councillor Stuart Wright told Ms Graves he was “sceptical” about her promises.

“We have been down this road many times before, including the promises of having schools on previous new developments that never materialised,” he said.

He was joined by councillor Terry Jermy in expressing fears over the relationship - although Mr Jermy did admit that the council’s “only choice” was to work with Breckland.

“There are people in this room and in the community doing so much work and how do we involve them.

“I think people in Thetford often think Breckland Council is working against them,” he said.

What do you think of Ms Graves’s suggestion? Let us know by emailing andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk.

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