Councils at loggerheads over who owns Thetford Market Place after unexpected discovery

Thetford Market Place

Thetford Market Place - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2011

The mystery of who owns a town's market place has led to two councils becoming embroiled in a battle over who has claim to the land.

Thetford Town Council and Breckland Council are both hoping Land Registry UK will listen to their overtures for Thetford Market Place after it was revealed that it is currently unregistered.

Maurice Howard, Thetford Town Council clerk, told a meeting of the council on Monday night that the plot was revealed to be unclaimed after the town council attempted to remove an illegally parked car from the site last year.

They were told by police that a request for the car to be moved could only be made by the registered landowner.

That led to an enquiry into who owned the land, which revealed that it was unregistered.

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Mr Howard said the town council then registered the land in its name, which Breckland picked up on.

'Breckland Council got a little annoyed that they hadn't registered the land and there's now a dispute between the two councils,' he told the meeting.

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'Now Breckland contends that Land Registry should have consulted them when we spoke to them to register the land.'

Breckland is now seeking legal advice on the matter as it lays claim to the area.

Councillors said they were surprised the land had not been claimed and that Breckland would see it had a right to it.

Long-serving town and district councillor, Terry Lamb, said the rights to the land had never been questioned before.

'I just assumed, it seems inappropriately, that it was the town's land and the district had no right to it.

'It seems that Breckland is happy to dispose of services it isn't keen on but for some unknown reason they want to claim ownership over this town's market place,' he said.

Who should have the market place? Breckland or Thetford Town Council? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on

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