RESIDENTS have rejected plans to move Thetford Bus Station after more than 80 per cent voted ‘no’ in Wednesday’s Parish Poll.
More than 2,000 people - 14.7 per cent of the town’s population - turned out at ballot boxes to have their say on whether or not the bus station should move from its current Anchor site to a new development in St Nicholas Street.
Despite the majority verdict, the Moving Thetford Forward board (MTF) - who are spearheading the bus station proposals - have no legal obligation to follow public opinion.
Mark Robinson, Breckland councillor and MTF board member, said the result was a disappointment and questioned its validity after the distribution of what he called ‘inaccurate’ campaign literature.
“Clearly this is not the result we had hoped for.
“14.7 per cent of the population cannot be said to be a majority of the people of Thetford, but we accept that some people have expressed their opinion and the MTF board will take that into account.
“We remain of the view that moving the bus station is best for Thetford as we go forward,” he said.
Terry Jermy, Thetford town councillor and part of the ‘No’ campaign, said the result was expected but called Cllr Robinson’s reaction ‘shocking’.
“I really would expect them to say they would be looking at it again and looking at the options but for them to discredit the poll straight away, it’s shocking really.
“More people took part in this poll than in all the MTF consultation that was carried out, “ he said.
Stuart Wilson, the Thetford resident who proposed the poll, said he was happy with the turnout and result.
He said: “This gives a clear message to the MTF board.
“We are hopeful that they will now listen to the people of Thetford.”
In total, 2,368 votes were counted, four of which were invalid. 1,921 people voted ‘no’ and 443 voted in favour of the move.
A planning application for the project has been entered to Norfolk County Council.