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Thetford enterprise park could create thousands of jobs

PUBLISHED: 13:42 12 April 2010 | UPDATED: 22:01 07 July 2010

A thousand jobs could be created in Thetford after Breckland Council primed the pump for a £7.6m enterprise park close to the A11. Construction work will begin next year.

A thousand jobs could be created in Thetford after Breckland Council primed the pump for a £7.6m enterprise park close to the A11. Construction work will begin next year.

Breckland has agreed to inject an extra £900,000 into the long-standing project to develop a 44-acre hi-tech park. It has been hailed as the most significant expansion the town has seen for over 20 years and the economic boost may be felt right across Norfolk.

It is predicted that scores of specialist firms will occupy 750,000 sq ft of commercial floorspace, and along with the dualling of the A11, bring about a change in the town's economic fortunes.

Breckland's extra investment brings the council's total bill to £2.9m, and council leader William Nunn has authorised a transfer of the first £820,000 to landowner and partners in the project, Crown Estate, to get the ball rolling.

A meeting in January heard that there were about 50 companies already interested in setting up at the centre, on land between the Thetford bypass and Mundford Road, which would host a mix of industrial units, distribution and storage facilities, as well as a hotel.

Pat Balaam, Labour councillor for Thetford's Saxon ward, described the investment as “very good news.”

He added: “We want more jobs; there's no work about at the moment, its dead.

“At the end of the day its taxpayer's money and they should use it to show we're doing something for people.”

Work on the project is expected to start in June next year, and be finished by April 2012.

However Terry Lamb, independent councillor for Thetford's Castle ward, said he welcomed the news but remained “sceptical” about how the space will be used.

He said: “I hope it's not just warehouses, that's not going to produce the kind of work Thetford needs, we need skilled work.

“Most of the money they're spending came from Thetford originally, it's only due that money be spent in Thetford.”

A further £1.5m has been pledged by the East of England Development Agency, with more funds coming from Norfolk County Council.

A Breckland report states the park will meet the infrastructure and job needs of the area until 2021. The report reads:

“With the final section of dualling the A11 planned, Thetford is likely to witness an increase in demand for all types of commercial spaces.

“This project has taken nine years of encouragement and negotiation by Breckland Council and The Crown Estate to turn the feasibility into a viability solution.

“This is the most significant industrial and commercial expansion for this town in over 20 years.”

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