THE future of Thetford bus station moved forward on two fronts this week as plans were revealed.
On Friday, the same day Norfolk County Council passed plans for the new bus station in Minstergate, plans were formally entered to regenerate the current site at the Anchor.
Fifty-four full-time jobs are expected to be created by the creation of a 62-room hotel, three-screen cinema and restaurant at the 7,000sqm site.
The plans, entered to Breckland Council by LSI Architects, also require the demolition of the Anchor Hotel.
It states: “The site consists of the former Anchor Hotel which is in a dilapidated state and is not considered to be of any significant architectural or townscape merit.”
It goes on to say: “The proposed development will remove a neglected building from the street scene and replace it with a well-designed development and the introduction of a significant area of high quality public realm which will add to the future cultural heritage of the locality.”
The proposal will also see parking spaces at the site reduced from 85 to 64.
Stuart Wilson, from the Thetford Society, said the new designs were not in keeping with the local architecture.
“It’s just a cheap travel lodge, which is disappointing.
“Breckland promised us an ‘iconic building’ but I am not sure the designs are going to be iconic in any way, shape or form,” he said.
Mr Wilson cited recent extension work to Thetford Grammar School, opposite the Anchor site, as an example of a development which is sympathetic to the local street scene.
If approved, work on the project is expected to start in 2013, to be completed by early 2014.
Plans for the new bus station on St Nicholas Street were given the go-ahead by Norfolk County Council on Friday, despite objections.
A parish poll last year saw 81 per cent of a 14 per cent turnout object to the move.
Mr Wilson spoke at the meeting, describing the plans as being dangerous ‘from all points of the compass’.
But councillors approved the scheme, which includes five bus bays, a single-storey building for information and the renovation of a listed building.
Breckland believes the work will spark a multi-million pound regeneration of the town - including a £6million investment of its own.