Breckland’s cabinet has allocated almost £1 million to support the creation of a new 44-acre business park in Thetford which could deliver up to 2,500 jobs.
Today, councillors supported proposals to kick-start the creation of the Thetford Enterprise Park (TEP), which could attract new businesses to the district and create between 1,500 and 2,500 jobs in the area.
In line with officers’ recommendations, councillors agreed to allocate a further £490,000 residual Growth Point Funding to the £450,000 already secured from the Norfolk Business Rates Pool Grant, representing a total investment of £940,000.
But Breckland estimates a further £5 million of inter-agency financial contributions will be needed to make the area ready for commercial use, with the site in need of a resilient electricity supply and other utilities infrastructure.
Cllr Ellen Jolly, Breckland’s executive member for income and prosperity, said the council would be working with its partner agencies and stakeholders to secure the remaining funds.
She said: “By identifying a contribution of almost £1 million, Breckland’s cabinet has demonstrated that the council is fully committed to making this important project happen.
“We’ll now be looking to work with landowners, the county council, and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership to secure further investment and support to put in place the necessary infrastructure and make this vision a reality.
“The TEP offers real potential to attract new businesses and jobs to Thetford, which will bring major benefits to the town and the wider district.”
Subject to securing further funds, Breckland is aiming to have the necessary utilities infrastructure in place by around the end of 2018.
Mike Brown, of Thetford Business Forum, said the project was of ‘massive importance’ and presented a ‘fantastic opportunity’, as it did when it was first launched in 2008.
He is urging all partners to work together to sort out the funding needed, not by the end of 2018 but within a few months time.
He said: “We’ve got this useful land and the opportunity to open up a substantial site.
“Let’s work together and let’s sort it out quickly. The economic benefits are massive relative to the investment needed.”
The park’s location to the north of Thetford within the A11 growth corridor is expected to attract higher skill and knowledge industries to the area.
“I can really see the benefits of us bringing manufacturing expertise to the research and development coming out of Cambridge,” said Mr Brown.
He added that the high business rates in places like Cambridge and Norwich would make Thetford’s business park an attractive option for anyone prepared to travel.