Plans for McDonald’s drive-through and Marston’s pub in Dereham recommended for approval

The former Cemex site in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

The former Cemex site in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: IAN BURT

Plans to revive a redundant Dereham industrial site as a fast-food restaurant, pub and hotel complex will be recommended for approval when councillors meet next month.

The proposals submitted to Breckland Council by businessman Andrew Scales are backed by national chains McDonalds and Marstons, and it is believed the planned development could bring 150 new jobs to the town.

A decision on the future of the derelict Cemex site, near the Tesco roundabout, had been expected earlier this month, until the Mid Norfolk Railway raised concerns over the safety of the level crossing on Yaxham Road.

But a planning officer's report says those concerns have now been overcome by the offer of a £15,000 contribution to upgrade the crossing – and the application is recommended for approval when the planning committee meets to decide it on July 1.

The hybrid application requests full planning permission for a McDonald's drive-through and a Marston's pub restaurant, while outline permission is sought for a 51-bedroom hotel.

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The officer's report to the planning committee says: 'It is considered that the redevelopment of this site for the proposed uses would not be harmful to investment in, and/or the vitality and viability of, Dereham.

'Furthermore, the scheme can deliver a proportionate contribution to mitigate against the impacts upon the adjacent railway crossing and the scheme is sufficiently well designed so as to relate effectively to its surroundings and not compromise the amenities of any adjacent site occupiers.

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'On this basis the application is recommended for approval subject to the relevant legal agreement in relation to a contribution towards rail crossing upgrades being entered into.'

The Office of Rail Regulation had supported the Mid Norfolk Railway's request for a developer contribution to upgrade the Yaxham Road level crossing.

The report says: 'The applicant has agreed to this arrangement, with a figure of £15,000 offered.

'Mid Norfolk Railway are satisfied with the level of the contribution offered in this instance.'

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