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Is Thetford getting a better deal out of Breckland Council than Dereham?

PUBLISHED: 06:30 31 October 2018 | UPDATED: 07:05 31 October 2018

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt

Dereham market place. Picture: Ian Burt

Breckland Council is being urged to give Dereham a fair deal and commit £50,000 to providing free events and entertainment in the town to support “struggling” retailers.

The Thetford seaside at the green event at Thetford Riverside Complex. Picture: The Lively CrewThe Thetford seaside at the green event at Thetford Riverside Complex. Picture: The Lively Crew

Town councillors feel Dereham is being overlooked in favour of Thetford.

For the second successive year, Breckland Council is committing £25,000 for a year-round programme of free leisure activities and events in Thetford as part of its Market Towns Initiative. Events have included live music, a harvest day and even a pop-up beach in the middle of the town.

Dereham Town Council, meanwhile, will receive up to £1,700 to support a study into opportunities to redesign the town centre.

Dereham town councillors feel council tax payers in Dereham deserve the same level of support as those in Thetford.

A town council spokesman said: “Town councillors were very interested in Breckland providing a year-long programme of events in Thetford town centre at the Riverside complex.

“Given that these activities are being funded for a second year, they must be successful in attracting footfall in the town centre and improving the viability of retail businesses.”

Dereham Town Council has formally requested that for the next two years £25,000 per year is spent on free events and entertainment in Dereham.

A town council spokesman said: “The justification is that Dereham town centre retailers are struggling as much as Thetford town centre retailers.”

A Breckland Council spokesman said: “Through our Market Town Initiative, we have allocated more than £200,000 over the last 12 months to new projects which will support our market towns to thrive.

“There isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ solution to meet the individual needs of each town, so we’ve supported a diverse range of projects from a town centre development study for Dereham, ShopAppy, the street cleansing Glutton, the renovation of Swaffham’s Buttercross, murals in Thetford and new market stalls for Watton and Swaffham.

“We continue to welcome expressions of interest from local organisations with ideas for how we can best support our towns and encourage Dereham Town Council to apply for support with detail on what they propose and the benefit it will bring.”

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