Thetford board under fire for lack of publicity as one member of public comes to meeting

Rob Walker, Breckland Council Assistant Director for Community

Rob Walker, Breckland Council Assistant Director for Community - Credit: Archant

A board previously criticised for a lack of transparency is under fire again after a lack of publicity for its latest meeting saw just one member of the public turn up.

The Greater Thetford Development Partnership (GTDP) was set up to steer the town's development over the next 20 years.

Having initially been held behind closed doors, its meetings were made public in December, with the two being held since attracting around eight to ten people each time.

However, its latest meeting, held at The Bell on Thursday, saw just one member of the public turn up.

While Breckland Council, who facilitate the board, have set up a micro website which includes meeting dates, its own calendar did not list the meeting. Links to a GTDP page on its own site also did not list the meeting. The date was also not publicised on the council's social media channels or sent to the press.

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Breckland has since amended the websites to include the dates following an enquiry from this paper.

Jake Shannon, a resident who has attended prior meetings, said finding out about them was too difficult.

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'I looked at the website, which previously listed dates, and it was blank. On Google it didn't find 'GTDP', or even on their own site.

'Considering it's a public board which is steering big decisions for the town, people should be made aware,' he said.

Terry Jermy, vice chairman of the board, admitted it needed to be better publicised.

'We need to get Thetford people more engaged with the process. They need to be involved and we haven't done that enough to date,' he said.

Rob Walker, Breckland Council executive director of place, said the authority was 'fully committed' to the board: 'The council has volunteered to host key GTDP information on its website, including the dates and papers for GTDP meetings, and details of meeting dates through until the end of 2016 have been published online for sometime.

'However, we want to make it as easy as possible for people to get involved and to attend future meetings, so we will be making this information more accessible across the website going forward.'

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