Council reveal riverside work put back to 2015

Thetford Riverside Project artist's impression

Thetford Riverside Project artist's impression - Credit: Archant

A controversial multi-million pound project to revitalise a Thetford town centre's dilapidated riverside area has been put back to 2015.

Thetford bus station and the old anchor pub site.

Thetford bus station and the old anchor pub site. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

It was hoped work on the long-awaited Riverside leisure development, at the town's bus station site off Bridge Street, would start this summer.

Plans for the project were first revealed in July 2011, featuring a hotel, cinema, restaurants and shops. Planning permission was granted in April last year.

But Breckland Council, who are managing the project, said work is now unlikely to start until March 2015.

A spokesman for Breckland said £770,000 had been made available for the project via Moving Thetford Forward.

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The council will now seek an LABV (local asset backed vehicle) partner to kickstart the project. The LABV partner can provide funds and expertise to the project while Breckland provides the land.

He said: 'To enable this to happen the detail design work and some associated site investigation needs to take place prior to construction and prior to securing an LABV partner.

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'Using the delegated powers £320,000 has allocated from the £770,000 to fund this work. The remaining sum is currently unallocated.'

The site has been branded an 'eyesore' since December 2012, when the Anchor Hotel was demolished to make way for the development.

Breckland had been hoping to carry out landscaping at the site to enhance the area towards the end of last year.

But the spokesman said that work had been delayed due to the need for investigatory work to take place.

That work will begin in the next fortnight and continue for the 'next few months', according to the spokesman.

The delay in work was met with frustration by Thetford councillors.

Corinne Fulford, town councillor and manager of the Dad's Army Museum, said the site had an 'appalling impact' on the town's image.

'It was bad enough before they knocked the Anchor down and it's a desolate sight for people if they come in on the bus.

'It has a major impact and delays like this make it seem like Breckland don't care about getting it sorted,' she said.

Terry Jermy, town and Breckland councillor, said the authority had 'rushed' to knock down the Anchor site.

'They got rid of it without planning what would go there in the interim and it's been left derelict,' he said.

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