By KATE SCOTTER
Monday, February 11, 2013
An area of Thetford is poised to receive millions of pounds of investment after plans for a supermarket were given the green light.
After lengthy discussions, Breckland Council’s planning committee yesterday granted outline permission to The Crown Estate and Pigeon to build a Morrisons food store on part of the site of the Thetford Enterprise Park off Mundford Road.
As part of the scheme, the developers plan to deliver £5m of infrastructure to help kick-start the long-stalled site, which they say will unlock the potential to provide up to 1,500 new jobs for the town and to host a regional engineering hub.
Proposals for a supermarket at the TEP site were favoured over plans lodged by Location 3 Properties for an Asda at the former Tulip International factory site off London Road.
Breckland Council planning officers had recommended the Asda plans for approval but the planning committee voted in favour of the Morrisons, saying a supermarket at the TEP site would meet the needs of the planned 5,000 new homes in the north part of the town and would not have a detrimental impact on employment opportunities in Thetford.
During yesterday’s planning meeting, Sylvia Armes, councillor for Thetford Saxon, said: “The TEP site we have is a golden key to unlock a piece of land that’s stood dormant for 20 years.
“Five thousand houses are going to go up on the north of the town, an increase of 15,000 people.
“They would all have to travel to the other side of town. We also have many villages to the north of the town, Mundford, Northwold, Croxton, and they will probably want to come to the town to do their shopping.
“The TEP site is going to bring in people from those villages that will use that supermarket and they will appreciate not having to travel right around the bypass or going through the town.”
Pam Spencer, councillor for Thetford Guildhall, added: “The planners seem to have forgotten about the plans for growth north of the town.
“I think the TEP has something going for it. The London Road site causes traffic problems and I think the application for an Asda on London Road would put things out of kilter.”
The two separate planning applications were initally put before Breckland’s planning committee in October last year and were deferred until yesterday’s meeting.
Pros and cons were given for both sites before the committee voted in favour of the Morrisons plans.
Steve Melligan, from The Crown Estate, said: “We are delighted with the decision. The investment generated from the food store will be vital in kick-starting the enterprise park and will enable us to get on and bring in new businesses to the park to provide much needed new local employment.”
Will Van Cutsen, from Pigeon, added: “This is fantastic news for Thetford. Not only will we be providing a new food store and new bus service to part of the town that currently has neither, but in the longer term it will help secure the future prosperity of the town through attracting new employers and creating thousands of new jobs.”
Work on the 65,000 square foot food store is expected to start in the summer with the new store opening in autumn 2014.