Dereham department store will be a part of businessman's legacy to town

PUBLISHED: 08:48 02 November 2015 | UPDATED: 08:48 02 November 2015

Official opening of Chattels in Dereham. Pictured are (from left) Bridgette Hall, Christine Todd and Debbie Bennington. Picture: Ian Burt

Official opening of Chattels in Dereham. Pictured are (from left) Bridgette Hall, Christine Todd and Debbie Bennington. Picture: Ian Burt


The wait was finally over as a new department store nearly a year after its predecessor closed.

A special vision

Basil Todd died on August 27 this year after a battle with cancer.

His businesses across Breckland and Broadland, which have been taken over by his daughters, employ more then 100 people.

These include Wensum Valley Hotel Golf and Country Club, Mattishall Golf Club and Billingford Lakes.

Born in September 1941 his career started when he left school aged 14 to milk cows.

Some 34 years later he purchased a piece of land at Taverham and started the project which would become Wensum Valley Golf Club.

In 2010 Mr Todd purchased Billingford Lakes witht he aim of turning it in to a visitor attraction and to create wildlife havens.

Mr Todd came into dispute with Breckland Council’s planning department on a number of occasions including recently when a building at Billingford had to be torn down after the council refused to grant planning permission.

Chattels of Dereham is the legacy of businessman Basil Todd who died earlier this year and his daughters were determined to see his final project through to completion.

Bridgette Hall and her sister Debbie Bennington have worked to transform the former Palmers store, in Norwich Road, into their father’s vision while also spending time with him during his cancer battle.

Mrs Hall said: “This is a project that our father started and we have finished it off for him.

“We hope it is a site that we can grow and expand into the building site next door.”

Official opening of Chattels in Dereham. Picture: Ian BurtOfficial opening of Chattels in Dereham. Picture: Ian Burt

Mrs Bennington said: “It has been a tough few months having to do it in such a short space of time, and while dad was ill, but it was his wish to get it done.”

An eager crowd waited outside the store on Saturday morning to see the ribbon cut by Mr Todd’s widow Christine.

Chattels sells a range of clothing brands as well as serving food and drink in an upstairs cafe.

Mrs Bennington said: “I think it is what Dereham needs.

Basil Todd, picture; Matthew Usher.Basil Todd, picture; Matthew Usher.

“There is something for everyone.

“We want people to come here instead of feeling they have got to go to Norwich to get certain things.”

More than £300,000 has been invested in redeveloping the interior of the building and once thing shave settled down there are plans to expand further.

Mrs Hall said: “We have made dad’s dreams a reality.

“He didn’t need to do this at all but he wanted to do something for the town.

“He has had businesses in the town and the area since 1989, he cared about Dereham.”

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