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Reader letter: Don’t let our town choke to death

PUBLISHED: 13:58 20 February 2019 | UPDATED: 14:17 20 February 2019

Traffic on the A11 near Thetford. Photo: Bill Smith

Traffic on the A11 near Thetford. Photo: Bill Smith

Don’t let our town choke to death.

I read with interest the apparent proposal to in effect steam-roller development of new homes in Thetford on an almost industrial scale.

This raises in my mind many questions, some of which may have already been answered and some may have not.

Taking as a case the Kingsfleet development to the north of the town, several thousands of new homes is a huge addition to a town whose infrastructure is already struggling like never before.

Am I correct in understanding that this will be mainly a development of homes, and the main retail outlets of the town will remain in and around the centre and the south of town?

This will mean many more vehicle journeys to be added to our already congested roads.
“Use the bypass” comes the unanimous cry from the planning committee.

Trouble is the bypass frequently becomes clogged mainly at rush hours and does not offer a direct route to where shoppers want to go.

“So use the bus then,” they all cried.
Problem: Many shoppers need to buy bulky items or do a weekly grocery shop which is not practical to cart on a bus then from the bus to their door, plus the buses no doubt already struggle to keep to their timetables through the congestion.

Unfortunately no amount of discouragement will force people out of their cars, which brings me to my next point, the seemingly never ending congestion on Norwich Road/London Road, the main artery and life-blood of the town.

The capacity of this road has to be increased before the town comes to a grinding halt, and I have my own ideas on this, as a town we have to be drastic but in the right ways to move forward.

Reverting to my original comments about housing developments I have to ask if any proportion of the new developments proposed are to be social housing?

We have a chronic shortage of this particularly here in Thetford, people have been on the waiting list for years in overcrowded conditions as there are simply no alternatives, and are often told to seek accommodation in the private sector.

If the council can spend say £3 million on buying business opportunities so they can get income from the rent, surely it would make more sense for example to do a deal with a developer to build that £3 million worth of affordable social housing which could then be used to ease the shortage and give the council an instant income plus reduce the amount of housing benefit being paid to in effect subsidise the private rental market.

I am not a businessman but this seems to be a wasted opportunity not only here in Thetford but countrywide.

I believe that we have a wonderful town here in Thetford with many open spaces, a river that runs through the heart of the 
town and we are surrounded by so many square miles of forests and we have an opportunity to make Thetford the pride of East Anglia, but this has to be done by listening to us ordinary folk who live and work and shop in Thetford and make the town tick before the town dies on its feet suffocating and choking on its exhaust fumes.

Timothy Bullett, Raleigh Way, Thetford.

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