Elizabeth Truss visits multi million pound Thetford development
PUBLISHED: 16:23 18 March 2016 | UPDATED: 17:50 18 March 2016
Elizabeth Truss has expressed excitement on her first visit to a multi million pound town centre redevelopment.
The South West Norfolk MP visited the Riverside development in Thetford, where construction work began in May last year.
She was shown around the site on Friday with Breckland councillors Michael Wassell and Trevor Carter and Nigel Robson, director of The Land Group, the council’s partner in the project’s management company Breckland Bridge.
The £8 million redevelopment of the former Anchor Hotel and bus station site will include a 62 bedroom Travelodge, The Light Cinema, and five restaurants and shops including a coffee shop and a pizza restaurant.
Ms Truss said: “This shows that Thetford is really going places.
“We have the academy which is doing a fantastic job, we have the A11 bringing a lot of people and businesses to the town, and we have a really vibrant business community.
“Now we have this development with a hotel, cinema, restaurants and shops.
“The cinema I think is very exciting and will attract far more visitors to the town.
“It’s an amazing transformation already but it is going to be great when it’s done.”
It was Breckland Council leader Mr Wassell’s third visit to the Riverside site.
He said: “We are very pleased to welcome Elizabeth to this site as we are all immensely proud of this project.
“Every time I’ve visited I’ve been able to see the progress.
“This is an excellent example of the council investing in Thetford to improve the leisure facilities on offer to residents in the town and the wider communities.”
Mr Robson said the cinema would be a “draw” for users of the restaurants and hotel.
“Hopefully we are going to attract new people to the town rather than bringing them across town,” he said.
Mr Carter added: “Once you have something like this in, which is a centre piece in a way, it may generate other ideas for the town.”
It is hoped the three screen cinema will be open to the public in the autumn. Travelodge is expected to move onto the site by October, along with the restaurants.
Mr Robson said he was “confident” the development would be finished on schedule.