Mystery remains over activity behind metal fence on empty land

Empty land of Napier Way, Dereham. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP

Empty land of Napier Way, Dereham. Picture: DONNA-LOUISE BISHOP - Credit: Archant

It may be just a mound of dirt, but the mystery surrounding it has got residents of a mid-Norfolk market town talking.

Formerly occupied by Cemex UK, a section of land off Napier Way in Dereham has remained empty for half a decade while restaurants and a supermarket have been built-up around it.

But recently, commuters and residents of the town have noticed works vehicles and activity happening behind the metal fence on the site.

The Cemex factory, which previously made concrete building blocks on the site off Yaxham Road, closed in June 2012. In its heyday it employed dozens of people.

In February 2013, ambitious plans were unveiled to build a hotel and restaurants after businessman Andrew Scales submitted an application to redevelop the eight-acre site.

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Some of these plans came to fruition and the land is now occupied by a drive-through McDonald's, a Marston's restaurant, and an Aldi supermarket. Previously, two national chains had been in negotiations to occupy a 50-60 bedroom hotel but nothing has developed since.

The original plan was to house three buildings on the site to include car parking and service roads - taking up about half of the space - and although there were no immediate plans for the rest of the land, it was assumed it would be a second phase of development in the future.

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- Do you know what's happening on the land off Napier Way? Contact reporter Donna-Louise Bishop by emailing

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