A new 180 seat restaurant and pub moved closer for a Norfolk town last night, despite councillors’ concerns about how the development would fit in with the surrounding area.

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Diss Town Council’s planning committee agreed in principle with Marston’s Inns and Taverns’ plans for a “food focused pub” on the site of the former Hamlin electronics factory off the A1066 Park Road opposite Diss Park.

However, fears were raised the applicant had not understood the context of the site within the surrounding Park Road area and south end of the town and particularly how it would sit with the neighbouring Norfolk Feather Company and an electricity sub-station.

The councillors were also concerned about the entrance to the site and the preservation of trees at the front of the land.

The entrance, off Park Road, will be shared with whoever builds the hotel at the rear of the 1.55ha brownfield site, next to Diss bus station.

South Norfolk Council has been in contact with landowners to discuss how the area could be opened up to the public, especially the part around the River Waveney and how links could be created to the rest of the town.

The proposals come after outline plans by Spen Hill Developments- the development arm of supermarket giant Tesco- for a 60 bedroom hotel and restaurant/pub were granted last summer.

The latest proposals, which have been submitted to South Norfolk Council, are for a 650sqm building with first floor staff accommodation and 66 car park spaces and ten cycle stands.

In an application to the district council, the agent for Marston’s said the premises would be a “food-led public house” and “does not compete with more traditional town centre public houses.”

The applicant adds that the proposals to build a coaching-inn style pub and restaurant would result in “significant job creation”.

The front of the site forms part of the Diss conservation area.

The consultation period for the plans ended yesterday (September 20).

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