Thetford MP Elizabeth Truss went to the cinema today but it will be autumn before she can see a film there.
She was able to walk through the shell of the town’s new The Light three-screen cinema and 62-bed Travelodge in the Riverside Development with councillors and contractors to see how the site, which will also include units for five restaurants, will look.
Standing on the roof, she said: “I remember visiting the old Anchor Hotel site with English Heritage and going inside. What strikes me is how big the site is.
“It’s creating a huge amount of space in here.”
She said the venue, with its mix of cinema and restaurants would attract people to the town centre and praised it for its use of a riverside site. Cinema goers around Thetford currently have to travel to Bury St Edmunds or Norwich.
“I think people’s attitudes are changing and we’re making better use of riversides,” she said.
The £8m project is being delivered by Breckland Bridge, a joint venture partnership between Breckland Council and The Land Group.Ms Truss was shown around the site by Cllr Michael Wassell, Breckland Council’s Leader, Cllr Trevor Carter, Breckland’s Executive Member for Place, and Nigel Robson, director of The Land Group.
Cllr Wassell said: “This is an excellent example of the council investing in Thetford to improve the leisure facilities on offer to residents in the town and the wider communities.
“When the complex opens later this year, it will create jobs, boost the local economy and will be another great reason for visitors to come to the town.”
Mr Robson added: “We are delighted with the progress that is being made at the Thetford Riverside leisure development. The scheme remains on programme despite the poor winter weather and we are all looking forward to the official opening later this year.”
Work started on the site in June and the contractors hope to finish building in September or October, when Travelodge and The Lodge will fit out their buildings. The first screenings in the cinema are expected in the autumn.
Details of the development and constantly updating pictures of the site are at www.breckland.gov.uk