Property Acquisition - Riversdale, Thetford
Meeting: 20/01/2022 - Council (Item 18)
Report of Councillor Paul Hewett, Executive Member for Property & Projects.
Councillor Mark Robinson, the Executive Member for Customer, Digital & Performance declared and interest in this item due to him being a trustee of the property. Councillor Robinson refused to comment or vote on this item.
Councillor Paul Hewett, the Executive Member for Property & Projects presented the report.
Ralph Burton, the Assistant Director for Property & Projects was in attendance to answer any specific questions about this property transaction.
This report had been brought to Full Council for approval as under the financial procedure rules, in order for it to be a delegated decision, the relevant budget needed to be approved. However, in this instance there was not a budget in place for this project until February/March 2022.
This was an opportunity that the Team had been exploring in great detail and would transform this particular part of Thetford. This was not a decision that had to be made in statute, but this project had significant potential and under the Council’s ‘thriving places’ objective, Councillor Hewett believed that it would enhance the local area, increase visits and public engagement and would ultimately have a positive impact for Thetford as a whole.
The report highlighted the opportunity for the Council to acquire a strategic significant building on the river frontage in Thetford. Keystone Development Trust were seeking to dispose of the property and the Council owned land either side and therefore, with the property coming up for purchase, this felt like a once in a lifetime opportunity to resemble all of the land to support any future opportunity to regenerate this part of Thetford. The river frontage was a prominent feature in the town centre and was a strategic important property that would enable the Council to make a step change in the transformation of Thetford town centre.
This was not a purchase with a commercial ambition. This was a purchase with a regenerative ambition which might involve the removal of the current building at some point in the future but for the short-term the Council would be leasing the building back to Keystone Development Trust to continue keystones purposes within it.
The question Councillor Hewett was asking Members to support was to agree and authorise Option 1 of the report.
The recommendation was proposed and seconded.
Councillor James thanked both the Executive Member and the Assistant Director for Property & Infrastructure for being incredibly supportive towards her as a Ward Member on this particular issue. This was a really exciting opportunity for Thetford, and this was a fantastic opportunity and prospect for the regeneration of Thetford. Currently, the town had considerable investment happening and people wanted to be in the river area and this purchase would support that continued development and enhancement of what she called the jewel in Thetford’s crown and urged the Council to continue its bold and innovative approach to deliver for its residents and support the purchase of this property.
Councillor Brindle, also a Ward Member for Thetford, agreed with most of what Councillor James had said, the river ... view the full minutes text for item 18