May 26 2013 Latest news:
Dominic Bareham, senior reporter
Friday, November 2, 2012
National pub chain J D Wetherspoon could soon be opening a new 6,000sq ft pub and restaurant in a Norfolk town centre.
The pub company, which owns 860 outlets across the country, is set to occupy a restaurant to be built by landlord Joe Darrell at Kings Head Yard, off Mere Street in Diss.
Mr Darrell secured planning permission for the restaurant four years ago, but a further planning application is needed for a mezzanine floor to create two levels within the building, which was submitted to South Norfolk Council this week.
The premises will take up part of an existing car park at the Kings Head Yard site and will feature French doors leading to an outdoor paved area where customers can enjoy views of the Mere.
Inside, Mr Darrell said there would be an upstairs section on the mezzanine floor, which is similar to a balcony and a downstairs section with a dining area on each level within the two storey building.
However, the plans are likely to cause concern about increased competition among other pubs within the town, especially the Waterfront Inn yards away in Mere Street, which also serves food.
Mr Darrell said the car park, which has been leased by the landlord, will close except for a few spaces left for neighbouring residents.
He added provision would also be made on the pub site for a potential new walkway proposed by Diss Town Council crossing the Mere from behind the council’s offices in Hales Yard to Kings Head Yard.
The idea of the walkway would be to enable tourists to get closer to the Mere’s natural habitat and wildlife and to stop and enjoy the view, but the scheme has been withdrawn temporarily to allow for further consultations to take place.
Mr Darrell said: “I think the pub will be transformational. I am sure it will raise competition issues, but in my mind it is a question of if Wetherspoon’s are coming into the town, where is the best place to have them? Because if the company wants to move into town, it is more than likely that they will. It is a bit of a shame to put the pub in another part of the town where people may not want to go for a meal.”
Norfolk turkey giant Bernard Matthews is in talks to sell a stake in the business.