Temporary bus station scheme could be avoided

Cllr Mark Kiddle-Morris, Breckland District Council, Launditch.; PHOTO: IAN BURT; COPY:; FOR:EDP New

Cllr Mark Kiddle-Morris, Breckland District Council, Launditch.; PHOTO: IAN BURT; COPY:; FOR:EDP News; EDP pics © 2007; (01603)772434 - Credit: IAN BURT

The impact of a temporary bus station in Thetford will be less than first feared, according to a Breckland councillor.

Mark Kiddle-Morris, Breckland's executive member for assets and strategic development, said work on the Riverside development, off Bridge Street, would be unlikely to begin until well into summer 2014, giving Norfolk County Council the chance to start work on a new bus station in Minstergate.

Breckland had planned to start work on its leisure development on the site of the current bus station in the spring.

A cinema, hotel and restaurants are included in the plans for the site of the former Anchor pub.

With work on the new bus station in Minstergate planned to begin at the same time, it was initially feared that a temporary bus station would be needed for a year.

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Plans for a site on the corner of Bury Road and London Road to be used were then criticised by councillors, who said it was unsafe and inappropriate.

But delays to the start of the Riverside project means that there will be minimal overlap on the two schemes, lessening the time for which a temporary station would be required, according to Mr Kiddle-Morris.

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'The timeline that I have suggests that we won't be able to start on the Riverside project until June at the earliest and more likely August.

'Norfolk were talking about starting the Minstergate site in the new year and it taking around a year but I don't think it will even take that long,' he said.

Stakeholders met to discuss the schemes at a meeting of the board of Moving Thetford Forward (MTF) on Friday.

Mr Kiddle-Morris said discussions between Breckland and Norfolk County Council was ongoing.

Neil Smith, Project Manager for Norfolk County Council, said: 'We are happy to discuss the possibility of co-ordinating the two projects and are in dialogue with Breckland District Council about it.

'The matter will have to go to the MTF Board later in the month for a decision to be made there before it can go any further. However, we will continue to work on plans to develop a temporary bus station so that we cover both eventualities.'

The Riverside project has been delayed after a public inquiry into the compulsory purchase of the former Cosy Carpets building on Minstergate had to take place.

A planning inspector heard the case in June, with a decision on the inquiry expected by November.

Breckland is also set to start looking for contractors for the Riverside project in the coming weeks.

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