Tuesday 18 June 2013

Thetford Town Centre Masterplan

My comments to Breckland Council Cabinet in relation to Thetford Town Centre Masterplan


Apologies from Cllrs Sylvia Armes and Brenda Canham who are attending a Thetford Town Council meeting on the future of the Charles Burrell School site, but have provided me with their thoughts.

On the whole; it is good to have this focus, and it is much needed, the optimistic person in me would say that any attention and focus is well worthwhile. Pessimist in me would say "we've seen it all before and what a waste of money".

There are a variety of specific comments about individual proposals and ideas. As ever the devil is in the detail. For example; Many people would object to additional housing in the Town Centre area and in particularly in the close proximity of the Carnegie Rooms. I won’t dwell on the comments in relation to car parking charges as my views are well known, but it remains inconceiveble that the High Street wuld improve with car parking charges introduced. Concern from residents about proposals in relation to King Street, and Ford Street. Alarm at proposals re: Post Office.

It Certainly didn't help that a summary of the masterplan has appeared in the local press, without the narrative to go with it - this has generated considerable concern amongst the local community, who see all things Breckland and Moving Thetford Forward as a fait au complait, rather than viewing these are suggestions and options, which I hope this document represents.

Document feels very unexicting and very much like a "tick-box exercise".

COMMUNITY BUY-IN: it is absolutely crucial that there is buy-in to any plans such as this from the existing local communities - that has been severely lacking in my opinion with all things Moving Thetford Forward, some of the projects that have happened have infuriated local residents, particularly those that are very proactive in the local community and this is a very poor situation and will hamper all future efforts. Townsfolk know their community best and they can proactively develop their town and we need them to promote it far and wide.

Second point:

  2. DELIVERABILITY; many residents will simply see this as another worthless document - an expensive regurgitation of ideas previously mooted, but continually failed to deliver upon. Certainly reads like numerous similar documents over the past 15years and perhaps longer. For me the worth of this document will be in whether or not it is realised? Or will it merely be yet another reference document on what could be rather than what is.

Thursday 13 June 2013

Thoughts on Thetford UKIP resignation

I am currently on a family holiday in France, but I have received news that Peter Georgiou - UKIP Councillor for Thetford-West has resigned, and there will now be a by-election, I've been asked for my thoughts, which are;

"I am pleased that scrutiny of UKIP policies and candidates that was so lacking prior to the election is now taking place to some degree. On a personal level, this must be very sad for Mr Georgiou and his family, but I think that he has made the right decision and I wish him well for the future. Residents of Thetford deserve the best possible representation at Norfolk County Council and I hope that this can occur quickly so that somebody can be in place addressing the very many pressing issues that exist"