Thetford planning policy could go to the courts

A legal challenge to Thetford's blueprint for growth could cost the taxpayer �100,000, officials have warned.

Thetford Town Council's planning committee voted last night (Tuesday) to seek a judicial review into the Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP), which centres on building 5,000 new homes to the north of the town and relocating the bus station to a site on Minstergate while regenerating its current Bridge Street location.

The move comes just days after it was found sound by an independent planning inspector.

But Breckland Council executive member for assets and strategic development, Mark Kiddle-Morris, warned taking the issue to the courts would jeopardise future growth in the town and was a 'direct threat to the public purse'.

'Breckland Council has spent a considerable amount of officer time and tax payers' money in the production of this document which has been found exemplary by the government inspector and has his full approval,' he said. 'A judicial review at this very late stage could waste over �100,000 of Thetford taxpayers' money at a time of austerity and would introduce further uncertainty for investors who are keen to come to Thetford.'

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Saxon ward town councillor, Terry Jermy, who put forward the motion for a judicial review, said he believed the cost would be around �40,000.

'This is a major plan and if we get it wrong it will affect the town forever,' he said. 'The lack of serious commitment to regeneration of the existing housing estates and town centre will create an imbalance. We don't want a bolt-on for the community, we want to move the whole town forward.'

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The motion will go before Thetford Town Council where a final decision will be made, and the costs explored in further detail.

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