Couple compensated with £24,000 after removing objection to Thetford bus station

The new Mayor of Thetford, Albert Paines, pictured with his wife, Thelma, a former Mayor of Thetford.

<copy - Rachael Hardiment>     2 of 2
The new Mayor of Thetford, Albert Paines, pictured with his wife, Thelma, a former Mayor of Thetford. 2 of 2

Wednesday, December 18, 2013
7:02 AM

A couple who did not want to leave their home of more than 30 years to allow Thetford’s new bus station to be built struck a deal to be paid £24,000 of taxpayer’s money to remove their objections to the scheme, it has been revealed.

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Thelma and Albert Paines were asked to sell their house in Minstergate to Norfolk County Council in 2010 to make way for the planned bus interchange.

When the couple, both in their 80s and former town councillors, turned down the offer, they were told that, if it was not accepted, a Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) would be made to buy the house. A deal was eventually made for around £275,000 and the couple moved into a new house in Thetford in November 2012.

But a Freedom of Information request from the Thetford Society revealed that the deal included a £24,000 “loss-of-home payment”.

The county council said the payment was standard practice as the home had been bought under the same terms as a “blight notice” acquisition. The standard amount was 10 per cent of the property’s value. In this case a full “blight notice” could not be served on the couple as planning permission on the bus station had yet to be approved.

When Mr and Mrs Paines objected to the planning permission – potentially affecting its chances of being approved – the county council struck a deal to carry out the purchase under a compensation code which meant the Paines would receive the loss-of-home payment of £24,000.

A county council spokeswoman said: “A pragmatic deal was struck whereby the property owners removed their objections to the planning application in return for an agreement from the council to purchase their property under the compensation code that would apply had it been a blight notice acquisition.”

Mrs Paines, a former Norfolk county councillor, said the payment was for “distress and disturbance” caused by the move.

Solicitor’s fees totalling £3,500 and estate agent’s fees of more than £5,000 were also included. The house was valued at £240,000.

Mrs Paines said: “We didn’t want to move and we were happy there but I think we realised that the town needed a new bus station.

“I think we got a fair price in the end but moving in our 80s was not very enjoyable.”

Concern over Thetford bus station development

Council asks for Thetford bus station plans to be delayed

Thetford bus station can go ahead after appeal is turned down

The county council has already spent £795,000 on the bus station project on land acquisition alone. The scheme has a projected budget of £3.5m.

An old car lot on the proposed site has been bought for £350,000.

However, an extra £145,000 was paid in compensation to the owner due to planning permission having been secured for development on the site. Compulsory purchase orders are to be completed on other sites, including the former Cosy Carpets 
building.

7 comments

  • I don't see a problem with this. You would expect AT LEAST £24,000 more than the market value of your home as you would incur stamp duty, legal fees, removal costs etc etc when moving to another property. In addition, you face losing your home, not just your house. Being ex councillors they were lucky to know how to secure this extra payment - anyone else would probably just get trampled by the council!

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    Citizen of EUSSR

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • The EDP digging for dirt where none exists. Of course people should be compensated in such circumstances.

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    Casey

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • I dont suppose that them being ex town councillors has anything to do with this ?

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    "V"

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • It is indeed deplorable that this has even been reported never mind the tone of the article, Payment seems entirely reasonable in light of the inconvenience and disturbance caused to this elderly couple.

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    SussexYellow

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • Quite right too I deplore the EDPs tone on this. Anyone who is forced to move out of their home so that a public or private facility can be built deserves more than the market value for the sheer inconvenience and upheaval- a private owner of property has a right to feel it is their castle. Shame on you EDP for making the tone of your article disapproving-it really did not merit comment at all.

    Report this comment

    Daisy Roots

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • I agree with the sentiments of the other posters. £24k is little compensation and EDP should be ashamed for sensationalising this. Spit!

    Report this comment

    AE

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

  • This story has a menacing undertone of disapproval; it seems to suggest that Mr and Mrs Paines should have just sold up and moved to make way for the bus station. If there is a story here at all, it is that NCC did the right thing in negotiating and paying fair compensation to people who had to move for this development to take place.

    Report this comment

    Jack1956

    Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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