Town's county councillors vow to tackle neglected underpasses
- Credit: Canva
Improve “neglected” underpasses and help the community bounce back after Covid-19, are some of the top priorities that a town’s newly elected county councillors hope to tackle.
More than a month since the May general elections, Thetford’s Norfolk county councillors are already getting stuck into their roles.
For Thetford West, Labour councillor Terry Jermy retained his county council title but for Thetford East new-comer and Conservative councillor Jane James won her first seat at county level.
But despite their parties’ differences, Mr Jermy and Mrs James say they hope to work together to see the best results for the town.
Mrs James said: “We need to recognise that no one person can completely change things we all have our part to play.
“30 for Thetford was a prime example. We pulled in the county councillors who had the budget, we pulled in people like STAG who were keen on it from a safety point of view and other stake holders like the district and town councillors who were really passionate about it.
“We demonstrated that when we work well together, we really can achieve.”
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One of their short-term goals but a top priority is to address Thetford’s underpasses.
Mr Jermy said: “Something that affects most people on my ward and is bound to affect people on Janes are the underpasses.
“There are four main underpasses in Thetford and it doesn’t matter where they live in Thetford the odds are, at some point you will have to walk through one of them.
“We want people to walk and cycle more but those underpasses are quite a major barrier at the moment, because they are dirty, poorly lit, when it rains, they flood because drains are blocked.
“It is a very simple task, and all of them are Norfolk County Council responsibility. They came up quite a bit during the election because over the last year people have been exploring where they live far more than in previous years. People are noticing what is around them and they have told us that this is an issue.”
Mrs James added: “I think people don’t use them for the right reasons.
“They are not public lavatories. If we can do something to keep them clean and well-lit so people feel safe to use them and keep on top of the graffiti, that would be great.”
Both councillors also hold positions on Breckland District Council and Thetford Town Council.
Mrs James said she hopes this will enable them to tackle the town’s issues on all levels, including its recovery after lockdown.
“Thetford needs some love and it needs to believe in itself because it is worthy of the love and worthy of the investment,” she said.
“We need to believe in what we have. That’s not to say we ignore the negative parts; we have to work on those but we have to offer solutions rather than complain.”
Mr Jermy said: “If there is anything either Norfolk, Breckland and Thetford could be doing to support the community and businesses, then we have got to be taking those opportunities.
“You have the whole economic mess from Covid, businesses have been impacted in different ways, but also the impact on health through loneliness and isolation which has come as a result - I noticed that far more during this election.”
The two councillors also hope to see more investment in cycle paths and walk ways in the town, and Mrs James – who is also a school governor – has a keen interest in education.
She added: “There are a lot of pot holes around at the moment. But Norfolk County Council have committed to spending money on those.
“We have all fallen in love with our locality again so for things like foot paths and cycle ways, we are hoping to get investment in those. I think that is really important especially after the last year.
“We will be making sure that Thetford gets its share.”