Morrisons pulls out of Thetford supermarket site

An artist's impression of the new supermarket planned for the Thetford Enterprise Park in Mundford R

An artist's impression of the new supermarket planned for the Thetford Enterprise Park in Mundford Road. - Credit: Archant

A retailer which won Thetford's 'supermarket war' two years ago will now not be moving to the town.

Morrisons had planned to move into a new superstore on Mundford Road after planning permission was granted to The Crown Estate and developers Pigeon by Breckland Council in February 2013.

At the time of the application, the Morrisons plan was favoured over plans for an Asda store on London Road.

The Asda store promised 120 jobs for Thetford and would have been on the former Tulip International Factory site.

But the Crown Estate confirmed on Monday that there was no retailer in place for the store.

A spokesman for the landowner said: 'The Crown Estate, alongside Pigeon, secured planning consent in 2013 for a food store within the proposed Thetford Enterprise Park.

'Since then, we have been in discussion with a number of food retailers to potentially take the site forward, but so far these have not reached a conclusion.'

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The retailer's withdrawal also appears to have left plans for the Thetford Business Park (TEP) in limbo, with hopes that it would unlock the long-proposed hub, with the developers pledging to deliver £5m of infrastructure to get it up and running.

Sylvia Armes, Thetford Mayor and Breckland councillor, was a member on the board which granted the planning permission and admitted she felt let down by Morrisons.

'I am extremely disappointed. Of course the supermarkets are going through a difficult time at the moment and they weren't when the permission was granted, but I feel it is a missed opportunity for something which would have fitted well in the town,' she said.

The Crown Estate is now believed to be in negotiations with Lincoln-based property solutions firm, Simons Group, on ways to take forward the TEP.

Mrs Armes also called on Breckland Council to be proactive in getting the business park, which has been stalled since 2010, off the ground.

'I'd like to see Breckland Council take out a loan to get it built and then charge units a percentage to get the money back over time.

'We've got the A11 done, we're in a prime location, and this is the time to take the bull by the horns,' she said.

Morrisons was contacted by the Times but did not comment.

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