Two Norfolk towns are set to benefit from a pot of £400m for investment in regeneration and community projects.

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has announced King's Lynn and Thetford are to be included in its Long Term Plan for Towns scheme in his Spring Budget through which both towns could benefit from up to £20m in funding.

It follows Great Yarmouth's inclusion in the programme last October, with each town receiving a 10-year 'endowment-style' fund to support long-term delivery of projects over multiple years.

Eastern Daily Press: Breckland Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss following the announcementBreckland Council leader Sam Chapman-Allen and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss following the announcement (Image: Liz Truss)

Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council, believes the cash can "turbo-charge our plan for Thetford."

"I’m confident this new money will help us deliver against the priorities we’ve agreed with local people, and ultimately have a positive impact for people and businesses in and around Thetford," he added.

However, there remains uncertainty about how the scheme will work in practice and council leaders have questioned whether this money would be better used to support struggling families.

Eastern Daily Press: Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk CouncilTerry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council (Image: West Norfolk Council)

Terry Parish, leader of West Norfolk Council said: "This has come as a surprise and we will await further information.

"More investment is always welcome but at a time when food banks are struggling due to the demand and councils are facing huge financial pressures, you wonder if this money could be spent funding the public services we deliver."

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Eastern Daily Press: Captain Mainwaring's statue in Thetford town centreCaptain Mainwaring's statue in Thetford town centre (Image: ©Archant Photographic 2011)

Both towns will be required to create a 10-year delivery plan, setting out their vision for investment and regeneration which will be developed in consultation with local people.

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Town boards - made up of community leaders, employers and local councillors and MPs - will be responsible for overseeing and delivering this.

It could go towards projects like the revamp of the Baxter's Plain area in King's Lynn, railway station improvements, protecting Thetford's high street heritage and securing public safety.

Eastern Daily Press: Baxter's Plain in King's LynnBaxter's Plain in King's Lynn (Image: Google)

Norfolk's Conservative MPs, Liz Truss and James Wild have welcomed the investment, which will benefit their constituents in Thetford and King's Lynn.

Liz Truss, MP for South West Norfolk said: "Thetford is a fantastic historic town and I am delighted that these funds have been granted which will be a boost for local business, help attract more tourists and improve the lives of local residents."

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Eastern Daily Press: James Wild, MP for North West NorfolkJames Wild, MP for North West Norfolk (Image: Richard Townshend Photography)

James Wild, MP for North West Norfolk added: "This welcome investment is a further commitment by this government to create more opportunities in Lynn and boost our area.

"Coming on top of £50m of regeneration funding secured through the Town Deal and Levelling Up Fund these are exciting times for West Norfolk.”

Eastern Daily Press: Terry Jermy, Labour parliamentary candidate for South West NorfolkTerry Jermy, Labour parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk (Image: Archant)

While welcoming the money, Terry Jermy, Thetford councillor and Labour parliamentary candidate for South West Norfolk, believes the investment is "too little, too late" and he says it follows thousands of pounds of tax-payer money spent on developing bids that "all too often deliver no return."

He added: "Having had numerous funding bids rejected, I am pleased Thetford will be receiving this much-needed investment.

"After 14 years of the Conservatives in power, with the austerity programme and the cost of living crisis, Towns like Thetford are desperate for investment to improve resident's quality of life and local opportunities. 

"But I am sure residents will see it for what it is - too little too late.

"It won't turn back the clock and address the years of neglect and poor performance that we have seen from this government."