A mural project in Dereham has been put on hold until after the local government elections in May.

Councillor Harry Clarke Labour councillor questioned Breckland Council about the 'Memoirs through Murals' project, before a full meeting which took place earlier today (February 22).

Last week, the council said it had been put on hold while it looked into how a 'draft concept' image related to it was released.

Mr Clarke asked the council if the project needed planning permission and if the impact of the murals on the setting and appearance in the Market Place had been considered.

Dereham Times: Harry Clarke, Labour councillor for Dereham WithburgaHarry Clarke, Labour councillor for Dereham Withburga (Image: Newsquest)

A response by Cllr Paul Claussen, Cllr Alison Webb, and Cllr Sarah Suggitt read: “This was to ascertain, amongst other things, how private concept documents are now in the public domain and a significant concern that the project was being hijacked for political reasons.

"Having observed the debate over social media recently, these concerns remain, and the project has been instructed to remain on pause until after the May elections.”

Mr Clarke said he “reluctantly,” asked the cabinet to cancel the project given the cost-of-living crisis.

Dereham Times: Paul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Deputy Leader of Breckland CouncilPaul Claussen, Executive Member for Economic Development and Deputy Leader of Breckland Council (Image: Breckland Council)

Breckland's response highlighted the work the council was undertaking to support people, including a proposed investment of £1.5m in housing solutions for vulnerable groups, and its £1m Inspiring Communities Programme to support Breckland’s most vulnerable residents. 

It says this programme has supported over 1,000 survivors of domestic abuse, helped more than 3,000 individuals access low-cost food and provide ongoing support for wider issues through the Breckland Food Bus and Nourishing Norfolk Network.

The response from the three councillors added: “It would be short-sighted in the extreme to abandon all our efforts and focus on a single issue.”