“Lessons to be learned” from Moving Thetford Forward, says councillor as Breckland backs new partnership

The Moving Thetford Forward public consultation begins at the Carnegie Rooms in the town l-r front:

The Moving Thetford Forward public consultation begins at the Carnegie Rooms in the town l-r front: Mike and Pam Spencer, Mayor's consort and Thetford's mayor, Paul Claussen. l-r back: Mark Kiddle-Morris and Mark Stokes. Photo:Sonya Duncan Copy: For: EDP EDP pics © 2010 (01603) 772434 - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2010

A councillor has insisted 'lessons must be learned' from the Moving Thetford Forward (MTF) scheme as it is dissolved and a new partnership begins.

Breckland Council met yesterday morning to look back on what had been achieved since MTF was set up in 2008 after Thetford was awarded Growth Point Status.

Members heard how around £8.5m had been spent on projects under MTF including sponsoring Thetford Festival and helping to set up Thetford Parkrun, and on large-scale projects including the town's new bus interchange and £700,000 of funding for King's Street square.

Councillors were then asked to support the establishment of the Greater Thetford Development Partnership (GTDP), to drive future growth.

GTDP will operate independently, and be a non-executive board made up of representatives from local authorities, businesses and other stakeholders.

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Terry Jermy, Breckland Labour group leader, insisted the partnership must heed the examples from MTF.

'There were two lessons from MTF. The first is that there wasn't enough community engagement. The vast majority of people were not taken on the journey of growth and people felt they weren't being listened to.

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'Secondly, the MTF funding was supposed to be spent on existing communities. Less than one per cent was though.

'With the new homes coming to the north of the town, we can't forget we need to improve the situation in existing communities,' he said.

Ellen Jolly, Conservative member for Harling and Heathlands, was chosen as Breckland's representative on the GTDP board.

She said the board would be a forum for members to share their views.

'We've got people on there who will be able to share the views of the group they represent, as well as take the view of the board back to their groups. It's a two-way street,' she said.

Mrs Jolly said she had no concerns about a lack of Thetford representation on the board, and said her senior position at Breckland was the key factor in her being appointed.

What do you think of the GTDP board? Let us know by emailing Andrew Fitchett on andrew.fitchett@archant.co.uk

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