More shops for town centre

A new wave of national and local shopping names looks set to be drawn to Dereham in the second phase of its town centre regeneration project.Dencora, which created 12 shops in the multi-million-pound Wrights Walk/Chapel Walk shopping centre, has submitted plans to Breckland Council to develop a neighbouring site with a mix of units.

A new wave of national and local shopping names looks set to be drawn to Dereham in the second phase of its town centre regeneration project.

Dencora, which created 12 shops in the multi-million-pound Wrights Walk/Chapel Walk shopping centre, has submitted plans to Breckland Council to develop a neighbouring site with a mix of units.

That would mean new life being breathed into the former car parking land opposite the QD store and the old garden of the ex-Bonds toy shop, which is now fenced off.

The proposals show a total of 1,615sq m of retail space with four kiosk-style shops from 36-55sq m, a medium-sized shop of 110sq m plus

a larger store of 1,100sq m on two floors.

Dencora said the size of the units could be flexible to meet store companies' needs.

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The scheme also includes two two-bedroom flats and a manager's office.

Dencora says in its application that the second phase would make an important contribution towards completing the regeneration of the centre of Dereham.

Chamber of Trade chairman Stephen Cross said there was a lost opportunity in the plans to provide badly-needed public toilets and an open space. “It is ludicrous in a development of that size that there are no toilets,” he said.

Dencora is negotiating with national and local companies that may be interested in moving into phase two units.

The planning application follows lengthy and complicated behind-the-scenes activity to buy parts of the site from other owners.

One of those which has sold land is Gorgate, which had previously submitted its own plans for new shops.

The former Bonds toy shop was bought by Breckland Council and has been refurbished to create living accommodation for the Bond sisters at the back and, at the front, new offices for the EDP and its sister paper the Dereham Times, which are due to open in November.

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