Hotel regeneration plans deferred over design
17:48 01 October 2012
A derelict hotel in a historical area will be demolished but plans to develop the area have been deferred because they need “tweaking”.
Conservation area consent to knock down the Anchor Hotel on Bridge Street, Thetford, was approved by Breckland Council’s planning committee today (Monday).
But plans to transform the site into a 62-bedroom hotel, three-screen cinema, 64 parking spaces and five units for shops, restaurants or cafés were deferred after concerns with the modern design.
Stuart Wilson, chairman of the Thetford Society’s environmental committee, said: “At the start of the Moving Thetford Forward process, one thing that the Moving Thetford Forward Board and people in the town agreed on, was that the 60s Riverside Shopping Precinct was outdated and ugly. No-one would be sorry to see it go.
“Now, here we are, faced with the prospect of a building in a similar style, across the river from the precinct. It’s no wonder people feel that in this case, Moving Thetford Forward is, in fact, going to move Thetford backwards.”
“It just says provincial Siberia. It’s cheap and it’s desperate.”
Agent Kevin Cooper said the proposal would become a catalyst for development. He added it reflected the history of the site as a maltings and tannery.
Sylvia Armes, ward councillor for Thetford Saxon, said: “We are all for improving Thetford but it (the plan) is a monstrosity. We are against it.”
Other committee members said the proposed building looked like a box, was unattractive and was not cool, contemporary and imaginative.
Marion Chapman-Allen said: “If it goes ahead, it will promote footfall for the nightlife in Thetford.”
Another member, Terry Lamb said he would prefer the historic facade in the Anchor Hotel to be included, which would not be “beyond the ingenuity” of an architect or developer.
“A lot of this doesn’t make sense and I hope it can be looked at again and more thoroughly,” he added.