05/02/19: £150,000 investment to progress key employment site

Breckland Council's Cabinet members have approved proposals to invest £150,000 to help progress the delivery of a key strategic employment site which, when fully realised, could create 1,300 new jobs.

The funding will pay for a delivery plan to be created for the Thetford Enterprise Park (TEP). The plan will identify opportunities to further improve the utilities at the TEP, which is needed before businesses can move onto the 44-acre site.

This will include working on plans to put in place electricity and water supplies at the employment site by connecting it to the nearby Kingsfleet housing development, where the first of 5,000 planned homes are now under construction.

This has been made possible after Breckland secured around £7.9m of national government funding last year, which is helping to pay for the construction of a new primary electricity substation on the housing site and its connection to the electricity grid.

In tandem with this work, the development plan will also look at opportunities to improve the utilities on the TEP by tapping into any remaining unused capacity in the existing water and electricity supplies in the area. This could enable parts of the TEP to be made ready for business development, independent of the improving utilities at Kingsfleet, with further increases in supply delivered in phases.

The Thetford Enterprise Park is a key strategic site for the east, forming not only part of Breckland Council's future plans for the development of the district but a major site in the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor. The Corridor is a strategic project shaping growth in the east, and is being delivered by councils across Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. It runs between the two cities and identifies suitable sites for employment and housing growth, making use of improving connectivity such as the dualled A11 to attract new businesses - and jobs - to the area while enable existing businesses to expand.

The TEP site has been earmarked for employment growth for some time, but changing demand in the national market, economic climate over the past ten years, and infrastructure challenges have hindered the site's development and businesses moving onto the site. As a result, Breckland and its partners have been working together to address these issues. Most recently, this has included the construction of a new roundabout towards the end of 2018 to enable access the TEP site.

New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership has allocated a total of £2.4m from the Local Growth Fund for transport improvements in Thetford, including the design and build of the Thetford Enterprise Park roundabout to help deliver business growth.

Cllr Sam Chapman-Allen, Breckland's Executive Member for Corporate Strategy and Investment, said: "This site is of strategic importance to both the council and our partners in the east and has the potential to bring at least 1,300 new jobs to Thetford. The site is well-connected in the heart of the tech corridor and could support the clustering of high-tech industry, engineering, and logistics companies and bring good employment opportunities to Breckland.

"However, getting this site ready for businesses to move onto hasn't been an easy task and, in a competitive national market, we need to do all we can to encourage businesses to bring their jobs to Thetford instead of choosing sites elsewhere in the country. We therefore need to further improve the infrastructure on the site and this investment will help us find solutions to the remaining challenges."

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, added: "The Thetford Enterprise Park offers tremendous opportunity to bring new businesses to the area and is a key site in the shared-vision of the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor. Since the dualling of the A11 we are seeing business growth here which indicates there is a market for it.

"The improved infrastructure, including the recent roundabout construction, have brought the site on significantly, but further development is needed for the site to reach its potential. Therefore we welcome Breckland's investment in this important site to attract new businesses to Thetford and create new jobs."

Last updated: 05/02/2019 14:38:12