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Thetford Enterprise Park could get more public money despite 30-year saga

PUBLISHED: 09:51 30 January 2019

The land in between Brunel Way and the A11 in Thetford which is earmarked for the Thetford Enterprise Park. Picture: Sonya Duncan

The land in between Brunel Way and the A11 in Thetford which is earmarked for the Thetford Enterprise Park. Picture: Sonya Duncan

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2016

Another £150,000 could be spent on “unlocking” a greenfield site to be used as a business park on the edge of Thetford.

The Thetford Enterprise Park (TEP) has been a thorn in the side of Breckland District Council since 1989 when it was first allocated for employment use.

Since then, issues surrounding power supply, water supply, and access have scuppered prospective development with Morrisons pulling out of the site in early 2015.

A decision will be made at the next Breckland District Council cabinet meeting whether to accept a further £150,000 investment in the site following a £1.5m roundabout project which is due to be completed by the end of January.

If voted through, half the money will come from the Norfolk Business Rates Pool and the other half from the council’s own Growth and Investment Fund.

The new money will go towards a delivery plan for the TEP, including looking at a detailed feasibility study to assess the potential of extending the utilities upgrade agreed within the plans for the Thetford Sustainable Urban Extension to TEP.

This could potentially see TEP gain the water and electricity capacity the council believe is required to open the site to business.

The delivery plan also includes an analysis of the site to inform the council whether more public funding will be needed to make the site attractive to investors.

A report for the cabinet meeting states the intention for the project is to lead to a first phase development of the site working alongside the land’s promoters Pigeon and the land owner the Crown Estate.

The report claims TEP could bring about around 1,300 jobs, £46m of private investment, and add £61m to the local economy year-on-year.

However, the move comes only two years after the council poured nearly almost £1m into TEP in January 2016 through £489,000 funding from the Moving Thetford Forward programme and £450,000 from the business rates pool.

The addition of an access roundabout to the TEP site at Mundford Road has also not led to any firm interest from business in the form of pre-planning applications.

What do you think about the Thetford Enterprise Park? Email conor.matchett@archant.co.uk with your thoughts.

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