Council considers review into major town plans

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PLANS to transform a town could be under threat after a council agreed to look into having them legally reviewed.

The Thetford Area Action Plan (TAAP) was adopted by Breckland Council on July 5 after four years of consultation.

The plan contains land allocations for growth in Thetford, including 5,000 houses and provision of 5,000 jobs.

But on Tuesday night, Thetford town councillors voted to take guidance on the possibility of a judicial review into the plan.

Any case could cost the council more than £30,000, according to the Public Law Project, a charity which advises on legal matters.

Breckland Council claims that figure could be as high as £100,000.

Cllr Terry Jermy said councillors were acting for the good of the town.

“We are the only ones in this process who are solely looking out for Thetford,” he said.

“What we want to know is, are people going to benefit from all this growth?

“This will put everything in the hands of a court and allow them to decide. At least we will know we have done all we can.”

Cllr Corinne Fulford said the town council had always held reservations about the plans.

Cllr Robert Kybird was the only councillor not to vote for guidance to be taken.

He said the move was ‘premature’ as councillors had not seen the inspector’s report.

“Some of the people who are looking for a judicial review are district councillors who did not vote against the plan when it came up before Breckland Council,” he said.

Mark Kiddle-Morris, from Breckland Council, said the move was an ‘extreme disappointment’.

“Together with Breckland and Norfolk county councils, Thetford Town Council lobbied for Growth Point Status in 2005 and, prior to 2011, the town council expressed its full support for the Thetford Area Action Plan.

“Breckland Council has spent a considerable amount of officer time and taxpayers’ money in the production of this document which has been found exemplary by the Government inspector and has his full approval,” he said.