Cash released for next stage of Thetford revamp plans

Cash to fund the next stage of a major regeneration project which, if approved, would see a riverside site transformed with shops, caf�s and a hotel and cinema has been released.

A planning document will now be drawn up for works at the riverside site in Thetford, off Bridge Street, after Norfolk County Council and Breckland District Council agreed to each fund 50pc of the costs involved in the application.

Both councils have, however, refused to reveal the exact amount they have released for the planning application because the issue was “commercially sensitive”.

A Breckland Council spokesman said: “We are negotiating with consultants to undertake the work required to deliver the planning application and it would be prejudicial to our commercial interests to disclose the budget for the project.”

According to the council though, the money will be spent on works associated with the planning stage including architects’ and surveyors’ fees, valuation fees, environmental assessments and planning application fees.

A report published following the decision to release the funds said: “This is one of the largest projects under Moving Thetford Forward, the regeneration vehicle for Thetford.

“Following significant work on reviewing the development options for the site and subsequent initial commercial appraisal, the council has received strong and confirmed interest from a variety of occupational users of the regenerated site.

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“The next stage is to prepare and submit a planning permission to enable the current potential occupiers to continue their interest.”

The application is expected to take six-months to draw up and is likely to be submitted in spring, 2012.

The regeneration project, which would also see the town’s bus station moved from its Bridge Street site to one on Minstergate, has been objected to by some residents, however. A parish poll was called earlier this year by environmental chairman of the Thetford Society Stuart Wilson who asked people if they would like to see the bus station remain in its current location.

With a turnout of 14pc, 81pc voted not to move it.