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History of the Greater Thetford Development Partnership (GTDP)

The Greater Thetford Development Partnership has been set up by Breckland District Council as an advisory body to oversee the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension (also known as Kingsfleet) and other developments in the Town. The Partnership is, as least in part, a replacement for the former Moving Thetford Forward, which has now been dissolved. Despite this new body having no formal powers, it is likely to have a lot of influence over the direction of the upcoming developments in Thetford.

It is therefore rather disappointing that few local organisations are directly represented on the Board, and initially Breckland Council planned to exclude the press and public from the meetings. The latter was quickly reversed, but there are still issues with transparency, as meetings are not always well advertised, and minutes and papers are not always published in a timely fashion. This website is an attempt to make the workings of the Partnership more transparent to the local residents it should be serving.

Originally, the Board comprised an independent Chair, elected representatives from the various tiers of local government, council officers, representatives of other stakeholders (health, education, social housing) and the Chairs of the three Sub-Groups. This was changed at the of 2017, to just comprise the elected councillors and the Chairs of the three Sub-Groups. Two of these Sub-Groups were disbanded in early 2018, so now only the Chair of the Community Sub-Group remains. In June 2018, the makeup was again adjusted so that each council would have two representatives on the Board. The Chair of the Community Sub-Group was reduced to a non-voting member.

Transparency

The Board initially decided to hold its meetings behind closed doors and only publish its minutes once they had been approved at the following meeting. This would prevent public scrutiny and meaningful input into the Board's business. Following pressure from myself and some Board members, the board had a change of heart at its second meeting, and resolved to operate in a more transparent manner.

Agendas, minutes and papers for the Board meetings should be available from the Breckland Committee Page for the GTDP. Things are getting better now, but the documents are still not always uploaded there promptly.

For the first meeting it took an FOI Request and two reviews to prise the minutes and papers out. For the second meeting, the minutes and papers were supplied in response to my request for documents from the second meeting, but the response was three weeks after the legal deadline had expired, with no explanation for the delay. The request for the third meeting was handled much more promptly, with the minutes and documents arriving in under two weeks.

Press Coverage

Criticism over advertising of Greater Thetford Development Partnership sub-group meeting
2016-09-16, Thetford and Brandon Times
Roundabout funding brings Thetford Enterprise Park a step closer
2016-08-04, Thetford and Brandon Times
Thetford board under fire for lack of publicity as one member of public comes to meeting
2016-04-19, Thetford and Brandon Times
Car parking and traffic issues in Thetford to be looked at, partnership meeting hears
2015-12-02, Thetford and Brandon Times
Enterprise park made Priority
2015-10-14, Thetford and Brandon Times
Board holds first meeting
2015-09-09, Thetford and Brandon Times
"Lessons to be learned" from Moving Thetford Forward, says councillor as Breckland backs new partnership
2015-07-15, Eastern Daily Press
Breckland's Cabinet supports creation of new growth partnership for Thetford area
2015-07-15, Breckland Council press release
Fears raised over new Thetford Greater Development Partnership board
2015-05-27, Eastern Daily Press.