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£8m Riverside complex cost council £250,000 while it sat empty

PUBLISHED: 14:39 13 January 2019 | UPDATED: 08:04 14 January 2019

The Thetford Riverside Complex which cost £8m to build. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

The Thetford Riverside Complex which cost £8m to build. Picture: Rebecca Murphy

Archant

A leisure complex which cost a district council £8m to build is still not fully let more than two years after it opened.

The Thetford Riverside complex on Bridge Street opened in December 2016 but has cost Breckland Council more than £250,000 in potential rent due to many of the units sitting empty until July 2018.

According to a Freedom of Information request, one of the units, 3 Anchor Place, has been empty since the complex opened, costing the council an estimated £90,000.

Another unit, now taken up by Snap Fitness, cost the council an estimated £170,000 while it sat empty between December 2016 and July 2018.

The site took around 17 months to build with the first tenants, hotel chain Travelodge, opening in October 2016.

The Light Cinema, Grand Central American Bar and Grill and Snap Fitness have all since followed, with the gym the most recent unit to open in the second half of 2018.

A spokesman for Breckland District Council said: “Having secured a hotel and cinema chain as key tenants prior to Thetford Riverside being constructed, Thetford Riverside was successfully 74pc let when it opened and this has now risen to 94pc.

“We always recognised that a complex of this type wouldn’t be fully let from its opening as national pressures on the leisure and food industries have meant that prospective tenants are more cautious about investing.”

Negotiations were reportedly underway with prospective tenants when the centre opened, but part of the site still remains empty.

However Breckland has said there is interest in the last remaining unit, but did not give an indication as to who might take the space on.

The spokesman added: “The complex now offers a hotel, cinema, restaurant and gym and is bringing in around £275,000 per year in rental income, which the council can use to support local services, and there is interest in the final remaining unit.

“The leisure complex continues to play an important part in Thetford’s regeneration – as well as that of the wider district – and is providing modern leisure facilities, new opportunities for residents and visitors, and local jobs.”

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