Thetford Riverside Regeneration Project
Meeting: 09/02/2012 - Cabinet (Item 23)
Thetford Riverside Regeneration Project (Agenda item 8)
Report for Mark Kiddle-Morris, the Executive Member for Assets and Strategic Development.
This will include a presentation from the external Project Team.
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Following introductions, Members were provided with a detailed presentation by the External Project Team. An update was also provided by the Council’s Senior Accountant for Capital and Treasury.
Kevin Cooper from Building Partnerships gave an overview of the proposed scheme. This was followed by a detailed brief from each of the representatives from the External Project Team.
The Overview & Scrutiny Commission Chairman felt uncomfortable about Members being asked to sign off the agreement before consultation. It was explained that this was a sign off in principle and there was potential to have a second sign off period.
It was noted that once the agreement with the proposed tenant had been signed and planning permission had been obtained Breckland Council would be obligated to build and complete within a timeframe of 18 months following consent. The ‘longstop’ date was August 2014.
All dates would be reviewed and agreed once the lease to occupy had been signed by the proposed tenant. Having this tenant in place would attract a variety of businesses to the site.
The key risks were highlighted and an overview of the major constraints was provided. The Project Team was striving to mitigate and minimise the inherent risks of the site. All risks would try and be eliminated to ensure that this project was deliverable and ultimately create a development that would enhance Thetford.
An archaeological desk study had been carried out as well as three geotechnical surveys and the development would be built in consultation with English Heritage. Further archaeological investigations were pending.
A flood risk assessment had been developed in conjunction with the Environment Agency and would be developed further once the scheme progressed.
A number of questions were raised about the proposed tenant. Members were reassured that the occupier would generate a great deal of income into the local economy and would attract other businesses due to the tenant being classed as a major occupier.
Mr Jermy, a Ward Representative for Thetford and the Leader of the Opposition Group, asked what affect this particular occupier would have on the regeneration of the town. He highlighted the fact that many shops were standing empty and therefore could not surmise how this proposed development related to the wider town centre. Mr Cooper explained that this type of tenant would not attract retail use to the site – its main target was food and restaurant style businesses and would not take away the demand from other retail users. Members were informed that the owners of the adjacent site were already considering putting more capital investment into their site if this proposal went ahead.
In response to a question about whether case studies in relation to demand had been carried out by the proposed tenant, Members were informed that the tenant had carried out its own research and was aware that there was a demand for such business.
The Economic Development Manager reported that the feedback received from visitors and residents was that this particular area needed stimulation.
Kevin ... view the full minutes text for item 23