angry protest over land sale

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PROTESTERS have made a stand against a decision to sell off land that was to be used as allotments.

Residents from groups including the Thetford Society and the Garden and Allotment Club confronted bosses at Breckland Council on Tuesday over the sale of land at Ramsey Close.

Use of the land – said to be worth £240,000 – is currently limited to the terms of its restrictive covenant which rules out development of any sort unless it is a playground.

Rachel Woods, chairman of the Allotment Club in Thetford, said: “The land would make some good allotments.

“For Breckland Council to think it can sell the land for more housing is a very silly and short-sighted thing to do.

“We have had a whole year of discussions with Thetford council and not once was the covenant mentioned.”

William Nunn, leader of Breckland Council, and Mark Stokes, deputy chief executive, met the protesters.

Cllr Nunn said it was the council’s job to get best value from the land which would benefit the wider community.

He added that no formal decision has been taken yet to sell the land.

Thetford Town Council had hoped the land would be turned over for its amenity value, but Breckland rejected its request.

Ed Chambers, Thetford Town Council clerk, said: “I was surprised to hear that residents had been protesting about the land, this should add some weight to their campaign to turn the land into allotments.

“Thetford needs extra allotment sites as the current waiting list stands between 20 and 60 people.”

The council discussed a letter from Mr Stokes outlining the details of the covenant on the land at a meeting on Wednesday.

Mr Chambers said the town council was still ‘positive’ it could put the land to community use should it be placed in its hands.