Further consultation needed on Diss tourist attraction
18:37 24 September 2012
Plans for a major new tourist boardwalk across a Norfolk town’s Mere have been withdrawn temporarily because of the number of objections and the need for further consultation.
Diss Town Council had applied to South Norfolk Council for planning permission for a new walkway spanning the six acre Mere in the town centre, which would enable visitors to get closer to the waterbody’s natural habitat and wildlife and to stop and enjoy the view.
However, on Wednesday the town council decided to scrap the proposal due to a number of objections to the walkway leading from behind the council offices in Hales Yard to King’s Head Yard and also to provide more time for consultation.
Town clerk Deborah Sarson said funding had been sought from the Waveney Valley Rural Development Programme, but the deadline for bids was October, which meant planning consent was needed quickly and allowed little time for consultation.
She added she had since learned funding was no longer available from this source, so other avenues were being explored to secure the £250,000 needed for the walkway, one of which was to incorporate the project as part of a bid for £1.4m of heritage lottery funding for improvements to the so-called Heritage Triangle around St Nicholas Street.
She said: “We have every intention to proceed with it, but by withdrawing it it gives us time to consult properly with local businesses and the local community. We can also look for funding as part fo the second round of heritage lottery funding.”
The walkway will connect with a zig-zag path behind the council office, which will be designed with rest areas for people to stop and look at information boards along the route providing details of sights to be seen on the Mere. There will also be a viewing platform at Back Court.
The path would comply with the Disability Discrimination Act and would also create the opportunity to improve the biodiversity around the Mere because the land behind the council office would be planted to support wildlife in the area.