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Abbey Estate Regeneration

The Abbey Estate was built in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a major expansion of Thetford. The former Council Houses were transferred to a private housing association in the 1990s. Tenants also benefited from the 'Right to Buy'. Currently around half of the properties on the estate are owned by Flagship Homes, with most of the rest in private hands. Most of the public green space around the houses is still owned by Breckland District Council.

In 2019, Flagship Housing announced plans for a major revamp of the estate, in partnership with Breckland Council and Norfolk County Council. On 4th November 2019, Breckland Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Flagship Group Ltd to work together to create meaningful change and improvements to the Estate. Flagship Housing then began a series of consultation and feedback events to engage with the current residents. Their proposals have not been universally popular, with many residents voicing concerns, particularly over the loss of green space and demolition of some existing homes. There has also been criticism of Falgship for holding their consultation events during the day, thus excluding those who are at work during normal office hours.

In the May 2023 Town and District Council elections, the Labour candidates campaigned against the Flagship plans, arguing that while improvements were needed Flagship's plans were not right for the area. Following their electoral success, the eight new Labour District Councillors for Thetford wrote a joint letter to the Leader of Breckland Council, calling for Breckland's support for the plans to be rescinded.

Breckland Council attempted to amend their Local Plan to include the Abbey Estate as a location for significant new affordable housing provision. Following a large number of consultation responses against this change, the plans to do this were dropped.

In April 2024, despite continuing objections from local residents and councillors, Flagship Group submitted an outline planning application for their plans to regenerate the Abbey Estate.

Engagment Events & Discussion

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