Thetford: Crowds gather to see demolition work of iconic hotel

A crowd gathered around a derelict former hotel this morning (Sunday) to witness an end of an era as demolition work began to redevelop the Anchor Hotel site, in Thetford.

More than 400 years of history was demolished at the site off Bridge Street after owner Breckland Council have the go-ahead to the work because of safety concerns.

Concerned residents and members of the Thetford Society and local Dad’s Army museum congregated near the former hotel from 8am and opened a bottle of champagne to mark the end of the building, which dates back to the 18th century.

The Anchor, which closed in 2006, was a popular drinking hole for the Dad’s Army cast and the crew stayed at the hotel when they were filming the popular television sitcom in the 1960s and 70s. The hotel was also featured in the opening scene of the first Dad’s Army episode.

However, despite its history, the building is not listed.

Consent to demolish the hotel was granted by Breckland Council earlier this year.

However, plans to transform the site into a 62-bedroom budget hotel, three-screen cinema, 64 parking spaces and five units for shops, restaurants or caf�s were deferred because of concerns about the proposed design of the new building.

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About half of the former hotel was demolished this morning and work will continue tomorrow <Monday>.

The district council has approved the use of �110,000 to flatten the site and to landscape the area until it is redeveloped.