The next stage has been taken towards opening up a Norfolk town’s Mere to visitors after a planning application was submitted for a boardwalk.

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Diss Town Council has applied to South Norfolk Council to build a walkway across the six acre lake in the centre of Diss to allow visitors to get closer to the natural habitat in the area, which includes a wide variety of birds, such as Mallards, Tufted Duck, Moorhens and Canada Geese.

Diss town clerk Deborah Sarson said the £250,000 project could also bring benefits to the so-called “Heritage Triangle” area of the town centre, including Market Hill and St Nicholas Street, through extra visitors as one end of the walkway will finish behind the council’s offices in Market Hill.

She said funding could potentially be obtained from the Waveney Valley Rural Development Programme, which invests in rural business development and sustainable rural tourism.

If approved the walkway, leading from behind the council offices in Hales Yard to King’s Head Yard, will connect with a zig-zag path behind the council office, which will be designed with rest areas for people to stop and enjoy the view of the Mere 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.

Ms Sarson said 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 the wildlife in the area.

Planning permission has also been granted for a new restaurant yet to be built at King’s Head Yard, which could link up with the walkway.

Ms Sarson said: “It is an exciting project and hopefully it will have a benefit by increasing footfall in the Heritage Triangle area.”

The plans could be considered by South Norfolk Council in October.

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