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Fears new hotel and Morrisons car park changes could harm historic town centre

PUBLISHED: 08:00 24 February 2018 | UPDATED: 18:08 24 February 2018

The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts

The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts

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A new 27-bedroom hotel and changes to a supermarket car park could draw people away from a historic town centre, opponents have warned.

The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts

Diss Town Council and the Heritage Triangle Trust have objected to the separate bids to build a 27-room hotel and five retail units behind the Thatcher’s Needle pub by the pub chain Marston’s, as well as another four units and small retail pod in Morrisons’ Victoria Road car park.

They have raised fears that the applications are ill-suited to Diss, citing concerns that both would draw people away from the town centre and contradict the area’s neighbourhood plan - which is currently under consultation.

In a letter posted on South Norfolk Council’s planning portal, The Diss Heritage Triangle Trust highlighted the lack of “treatment” in the design on the units and the possibility of pollution from the car wash.

Diss Town Council and the Heritage Triangle Trust both also highlighted the need for the car park to keep its current number of parking spaces.

Morrisons on Victoria Road in Diss Morrisons on Victoria Road in Diss

In a letter posted on the Morrisons application Dave Down, from Rickinghall wrote: “If approved this application would only serve to polarise the town of Diss further.”

In a letter posted on the Marston’s application, The Diss and District Neighbourhood plan steering group said the application is “premature and prejudicial to key objectives in the neighbourhood plan to reduce traffic volumes along the A1066, develop and deliver key community-based facilities and provide access to the natural heritage of the Waveney River valley”.

Residents will now have to wait until the applications are discussed by SNC to see if they are successful.

Mike Bootman, chairman of the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group, said it had done its best but now had to wait for the final decision.

The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts The Thatchers Neddle in Diss. Picture: Marc Betts

“We have laid out the best arguments we can and they are rational arguments,” he said.

The first application to go to committee is the Morrisons application, which is expected to be discussed on February 28.

Morrisons and Marstons were both approached for comment.

Marstons said: “We are familiar with the feedback and will be addressing the issues with the planning authority in due course.”

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