Reassurances have been sought over controversial plans which could see hundreds of homes on a Norfolk estate knocked down and rebuilt.

Former prime minister Liz Truss said she had been contacted by people living on Thetford's Abbey Estate over proposals which would see 540 homes demolished and rebuilt and 490 new homes built.

The South West Norfolk MP visited the estate last week for a meeting with worried neighbours, along with officers from housing association Flagship Housing Group, Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council.


Flagship has been pursuing the redevelopment of the area, which would cost £250m and take more than 20 years to complete.

It is hoped it could bring "meaningful change" to the estate - in the top 10pc of the most deprived neighbourhoods in the country.

But the proposals have triggered concern, with some saying money would be better spent improving existing homes rather than knocking them down.

Eastern Daily Press: Liz Truss and Jane James on the Abbey Estate in ThetfordLiz Truss and Jane James on the Abbey Estate in Thetford (Image: Ian Sherwood)

Ms Truss said she hoped Friday's meeting would have reassured locals about the proposals.

She said: "It was about meeting residents to make sure they are getting what they want out of the redevelopment.

"One of the biggest issues raised is whether there will be enough space to park cars and whether people will be able to keep their garages.

"We pressed Flagship on that and on whether people would have the same number of bedrooms in the replacement homes.

"Everybody wants to see regeneration, but what is important is that residents are going to get a home which is at least as large as what they have at the moment."

Jane James, Norfolk county councillor for Thetford East and County Hall's Conservative cabinet member for corporate services and innovation, said: "It was good to be able to bring some of the residents together, so we could listen and understand their concerns."

Eastern Daily Press: Labour county councillor Terry JermyLabour county councillor Terry Jermy (Image: Labour Party)

But Terry Jermy, Labour county councillor for Thetford West and his party's prospective parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk, said: "I am disappointed that Ms Truss organised this meeting with Flagship and residents without any notification or involvement with councillors who represent the Abbey Estate.

"We've been working alongside residents on this issue for a year and one local councillor chairs the residents group, but had no notification or invite."