Group formed to plan for Dereham's future
- Credit: Ian Burt
People in a Norfolk town have formed a working group to ensure a “town delivery plan” soon to be drawn up by the district council is done “with” them and not “to” them.
Members of the aboutDereham community partnership have teamed up with mayor Stuart Green and three other town councillors to see if they can craft a common approach for Dereham’s future.
At a January meeting of the town council, aboutDereham chair Mike Webb had said there was a concern that consultants appointed by Breckland Council “will come in and do the plan to Dereham, rather than with or by Dereham.
"We think we’ve got to be much more proactive than just letting them get on with it,” he had said.
Since then, aboutDereham have had constructive conversations with Breckland’s executive director of place, Rob Walker, and Mr Webb said: “I’m confident this new group will make a difference.
“We need a great vision for the future of Dereham that comes from the heart of its members and the town’s residents.
“This project will lead to Dereham finally getting things done that need to be done.”
Dereham Heritage Trustee Dr Peter Wade-Martins, who sits on the working group, said: “You need to understand the background of where it [a town] has come from, to know where it’s got to go. Conservation of the town is very important.”
A Breckland Council spokesperson said the delivery plans “will outline the ambition for the district’s market towns and their important role in the future economy.
“The work will incorporate all aspects of what’s important to everyone in Breckland and the many aspects which make our towns great, unique and vibrant.
"Consequently, at the heart of this will be things like heritage, leisure and conservation along with skills, employment and transport, as they are integral to what makes our towns tick.
“This piece of work will look at the strengths, challenges and opportunities our towns will face and Breckland Council is taking a central role in enabling this work, as part of our commitment to the future of our towns.
"However, people and stakeholders in each of the towns and beyond have a pivotal role to play in shaping and delivering for their towns’ future.”
Minutes of the group's meetings can be read on their website: https://aboutdereham.org/dtpwg/
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