A blueprint for the future of Thetford suggests the creation of a regenerated riverside quarter, including some 32 new homes.

The ‘Future Breckland’ plan for the town, produced by a set of consultants on behalf of the district council, points out that “the riverside provides a pleasant environment for people to walk and congregate but is today underused”.

It proposes the construction of a range of new facilities to improve the area’s leisure and living opportunities, including canoeing and wild swimming with changing facilities, storage and decking.

The document says the riverside could “become a form of outdoor park with amenities that enable residents to use the area all through the year”.

It adds that roughly 32 new residential units could be created in the area, such as on the site of the Riversdale building or on land between Minstergate and the river. 

Thetford & Brandon Times: Some 32 new residential units could be created along the river in ThetfordSome 32 new residential units could be created along the river in Thetford (Image: Denise Bradley)

The consultants claim that improving the riverside area - near where the Little Ouse and Thet meet - would have wider implications for the town as a whole, such as reducing deprivation in the nearby Abbey estate and bringing crime down.

They say that having a vibrant neighbourhood in the heart of the town would help attract younger and working-age people to move to Thetford and contribute to the local economy, as well as attracting day visitors who would spend money in local businesses. 

The consultants propose the development of a 100-200sqm new jetty, 10sqm of changing facilities, around 1,700sqm of new commercial floorspace, enhanced green spaces of around 9.5 hectares at Abbey Meadow, and roughly 450m of new and improved walking and cycling paths.  

In addition, they suggest improving the pathway between Abbey Meadow and Thetford Forest, enabling pedestrians to easily walk from the new riverside quarter out towards the town’s cherished natural hinterland.

Thetford & Brandon Times: The project would enable easier access to Thetford Forest from the town centreThe project would enable easier access to Thetford Forest from the town centre (Image: Newsquest)

A study should be conducted to see what watersports it might be feasible to offer visitors to the area, the consultants recommend. 

And they say the new neighbourhood could host pop-up shops, to complement a programme of summer events by the river. 

The full suite of works would cost somewhere between £14-20m, but the document’s authors argue that the scheme would help boost the town’s economy.

The full programme of ‘Future Breckland’ plans is being discussed at a meeting of Breckland Council’s cabinet at Swaffham Town Hall, at 9.30am on Monday, November 21.