Ambitious plans were this week unveiled to build a hotel, pub/restaurant and a McDonald’s in Dereham which would create a total of more than 150 new jobs.

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Businessman Andrew Scales has submitted an application to redevelop the eight-acre former Cemex concrete products factory site on Yaxham Road.

He revealed that McDonald’s - which has been rumoured to be coming to be Dereham for many years - and Marston’s have already signed up to part of the scheme. The McDonald’s restaurant would also include a drive-through service.

Two national chains are also in negotiations to occupy the 50-60 bedroom hotel and waiting for planning permission to be granted.

The three buildings and the car parking and service roads would take up about half the site. There are currently no plans in for the rest of the land but that could be a second phase of development in the future,

Mr Scales - who runs Dereham-based steel fabrication company SCWS - said: “This is a good news story for Dereham with more than 150 jobs. I feel it will enhance the town and give facilities which the town has not got. It is a major gateway into Dereham and we do not want the site siting empty. This is not a pie in the sky development.”

He said he did not think the scheme would be in conflict with the town centre if the scheme and could bring more people in to Dereham

“If you are a businessman who needs to go to Norwich or someone on holiday, then it could be a good place to stay.”

Mr Scales said if the plans were turned down, Dereham could miss out.

If permission is granted, work could start quickly afterwards and the businesses hope to be open by the end of the year,

Marston’s would employ 25 full-time and 35 part-time workers, McDonald’s would have 45 full-timers and 20 part-timers while the hotel would have 23 full-time and four part time staff.

It is hoped the vast number of staff would be local people and McDonald’s and Marston’s have also said they would want to offer training and staff progression.

There would also be new jobs generated during the construction work.

Mr Scales said: “It would also support nearby businesses as these facilities often act as a catalyst to furthe investment in this area, for example when prospective businesses are looking for new premises.”

Mr Scales has had meetings in recent weeks with district councillors and officers and town councillors to outline his vision for the site.

He said they had given him “positive vibes” so far.

“I have wanted to be as open and straightforward as possible with local councillors. There has been a general sigh of relief that there are not plans for more houses on the site.”

The Cemex factory shut in 2011 and the site has become increasingly derelict in recent months.

When it closed, about 12 people worked there and just under 30 had been employed when it was operating more successfully.

The site is allocated for employment land and Mr Scales said there would be considerably more people working in the area than had been previously.

The planning application includes a traffic survey and Norfolk County Council highways officers have indicated that they would want the entrance to the development moved further along Yaxham Road towards the flyover,

The exit fromn the site would be opposite the Mormon church on the other side of the roundabout.

*What do you think of the plans? Contact the Times at Bond House, High Street, Dereham, NR19 1DZ or email dft.letters@archant.co.uk

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