A11 £3m gateway project set to bring a jobs boost to area

The new dualled A11 opens.

The new dualled A11 opens. - Credit: Eastern Daily Press � 2013

A £3million project made possible by the newly dualled A11 will bring more than 40 jobs to the Mildenhall area, with a fast-food restaurant and petrol station due to open.

Just days since the new A11 between Fiveways and Thetford opened, developers announced that they are entering the next stage of the redevelopment of the former Fiveways roundabout garage.

The project will include a Shell petrol station and a McDonald’s drive-through restaurant, with both firms already committed to lettings agreements. Forest Heath District and St Edmundsbury Borough Councils played a vital role in making the project a reality by securing a £500,000 loan from the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Hugh French, from the site’s developers, Pigeon, said: “We are very pleased with the progress on site. The junction work was completed on-programme which has allowed us to move forward to the main construction stage. Once complete, the site will provide an excellent roadside location at the roundabout and we expect it to be a very popular location.”

Plans for further development are already under way and it is hoped even more jobs will be created. The second phase will look at building a variety of additional premises, including a car showroom or vehicle depot, subject to planning.

James Waters, leader of Forest Heath, said: “Only on Friday we had the announcement of the completion of the dualled A11 between Fiveways and Thetford, creating business and tourism growth opportunities across the whole of Forest Heath.

“Now we have a new gateway off the A11 into Mildenhall taking shape, with the next phase of construction getting under way.

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“Forest Heath and St Edmundsbury played an active role in working with Pigeon and New Anglia LEP to secure the funding for this brilliant scheme. We are working with our partners to create around 40 new jobs for local people, with more to follow as phase two comes forward. A new junction on to the site is now complete, with the contractors, Chalcroft, on site and starting the work, which is hoped to be complete in the summer of 2015.

John Griffiths, leader of St Edmundsbury Borough Council and a board member of New Anglia LEP, said: “This again illustrates our strong track record and ambition. We are drawing in the investment, working with partners and creating new jobs opportunities for our residents and businesses here in west Suffolk.”

Chris Starkie, managing director of the LEP, added: “We are delighted to have provided the £500,000 loan to kick-start this high-profile project through our Growing Places Fund.

“It will provide a great new gateway to Mildenhall and the newly dualled stretch of the A11. We hope this will be the first of many similar schemes. The opening of the A11 gives us a faster route into the region and a faster route towards greater investment.”