Council apology over estate 'demolition'
An under fire council last night issued an apology to residents of a Norfolk town after a new report suggested the potential demolition of a complete estate was part of a huge house building project.
An under fire council last night issued an apology to residents of a Norfolk town after a new report suggested the potential demolition of a complete estate was part of a huge house-building project.
Community leaders and householders in Thetford were left fuming after a document was published on Breckland Council's website identifying the Abbey Estate and three other areas as prime sites for redevelopment as part of the town's growth point initiative.
But the district council's new chief executive moved to reassure homeowners last night about the future growth of the market town and said that demolition of people's homes was "unlikely" as part of proposals to build at least 6,000 new homes in
the Thetford area over the next 15 years.
Trevor Holden said it was with "much regret" that the draft "Thetford Masterplan" report by London-based consultants EDAW had been originally placed on the council's website without a "health warning" that set out clear guidelines into the status and context of the document.
As reported by the EDP, the masterplan, which looks into finding new housing and employment opportunities in the Thetford, suggested demolition of 1,100 units at the Abbey Estate with a rebuild for a net increase of 400 dwellings.
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A partial redevelopment of the estate along with other areas with a "high capacity for change", including Redgate, Barnham Cross, and east of Croxton Road for an increase of
500 homes, was identified as a more "preferred" option, by the report.
It added that the majority of new homes and employment areas would likely come from greenfield land
to the north and east of Thetford.
But Mr Holden, who took over the reins as Breckland Council chief executive last month, said growth point status was a "positive" thing for the Thetford, which would not only bring in 6,000 new jobs and homes, but regeneration to the town centre, improved transport links, and enhanced green spaces.
"The plan has been produced as part of the town's Growth Point Status process, which requires us to consider all potential options for the use of brownfield sites before additional sites can be released.
"It is, therefore, essential that this report considers all options, however unlikely."
"The document is but part of a much wider process which will involve further consultation prior to decisions being made on future growth in the town. Clearly we have learned a lesson from this and we will ensure that any future documents are appropriately published with full explanation and guidance for residents," he said.