First spade goes in the ground on £8m Thetford Riverside Development project

Land Group director David Winch(left), Breckland Council leader Michael Wissell(centre) and Phil Bro

Land Group director David Winch(left), Breckland Council leader Michael Wissell(centre) and Phil Browne from Farrans Construction break ground to start the Thetford Riverside Development.Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

The regeneration of a run-down town centre has begun after the first spade was put in the ground on a project to build an £8m leisure development.

The forthcoming Thetford Riverside Development. Image: LSI Architects

The forthcoming Thetford Riverside Development. Image: LSI Architects - Credit: Archant

Thetford's Riverside Development will bring a three-screen cinema, 62-bedroom hotel and five cafe/restaurant units to the town centre.

Based on the former Anchor pub and bus station site in Bridge Street, the project will take 18 months to complete. It is expected to create more than 75 jobs.

Councillors and representatives from Breckland Council, Thetford Town Council and developers, The Land Group, were on hand yesterday to see Breckland leader Michael Wassell cut the first sod of turf to mark the project's start.

Mr Wassell said the project was a sign of Breckland's ambition for Thetford.

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'Today is the culmination of an awful lot of hard work and determination to make sure this project happens.

'We are now well on the way to creating more local jobs for local people and generating growth which will benefit the town and the whole district,' he said.

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The project has been made possible by the creation of Breckland Bridge Ltd, a joint venture between Breckland Council and Land Group. Farrans Construction will carry out the work.

David Winch, Land Group director, said early progress had already been made at the site.

He said: 'The commencement of this project is a significant step for the regeneration of the whole of the Thetford riverside frontage and we are pleased to be working closely with Breckland Council to deliver a new focal point in the town, which everyone will be proud of.'

The cinema will be occupied by The Light, a chain with cinemas around Europe, which is expanding in the UK.

Travelodge has agreed to take on the hotel.

Mr Winch added that negotiations were ongoing to find occupants for the restaurant units.

Breckland Council will maintain 100pc ownership of the Riverside site, and 90pc of the profits from its use.

Following the groundbreaking, Gordon Bambridge, Breckland Council chairman, spoke, saying the scheme was an 'exciting project' which would offer more for residents and visitors to Thetford.

The complex will replace the former Thetford Bus Station, which moved to a new site in Minstergate in March.

The Breckland Bridge project will also be creating two new housing developments in Mileham and Attleborough in the coming years.

Mr Wassell said the plan was to have the housing projects and Riverside development working in parallel.

What do you think of the Riverside Development? Let us know by emailing reporter Andrew Fitchett on

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