Green light given for development of retail park, set to include B&M, in Norfolk town
- Credit: Archant
The green light has been given for the development of a retail park which has been called a positive for Thetford.
The bid for the six terrace retail units - which is set to include major retailer B&M - was approved unanimously by Breckland Council’s planning committee on Monday.
It is believed the development, which will be known as the Breckland Retail site, will create 80 full-time and between 100 and 150 part-time jobs.
It is set to be built on the former Viking site, at the junction of London Road and Caxton Way, close to the Forest Retail Park.
Councillor Roy Brame, who is on the planning committee, said he “cannot find a negative” about the development.
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“It is something that Thetford greatly needs,” said Mr Brame, who is also the owner of Cobra Domestic Appliances on Whitehart Street.
“I am in the position of being a town centre trader and I don’t think it will harm town centre trading. I think it will bring people in and stop them from going to Bury St Edmunds.
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“We have to make Thetford somewhere where people will come. It is great for the town with the jobs we have lost from Multiyork. Thetford is starting on the up.”
The retail park will include a standalone building which will be used as restaurant and cafe space.
A cycleway to the Forest Retail Park, pedestrian crossing and a bus stop were also proposed by applicant the Stapleford Group.
The application had been recommended for approval but concerns were raised about the loss of a “major employment site” and its impact on the town’s high street.
The nearly five-acre site has been vacant since 2009 and was once home to the Tulip and Thermos buildings which were demolished in 2016.
It had been identified by the Breckland Employment Growth Study as a key site to protect for employment use because the town sits on the Cambridge Norwich Technology Corridor.
To protect the town centre, conditions have been implemented which include signage to be put up on the site which would direct people to the town centre.
Also, retailers cannot just vacate their premises in the town centre. If they chose to move to the retail park, they must have both shops open together for five years.
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