A controversial bid to build retail units in Diss to be decided

Thatcher's Needle on Park Road in Diss

Thatcher's Needle on Park Road in Diss - Credit: Archant

A controversial bid to build four retail units in Diss has been recommended for approval.

A planning application was lodged by Marston's to develop the land to the rear of the Thatcher's Needle pub on Park Road in June 2015.

The plans were objected by Diss Town Council and it was recommend South Norfolk Council refuse the application as it was felt the proposal was unsustainable both economically and socially.

The plans were resubmitted with lowered roof levels and canopies removed from the front of the buildings. The town council have again objected but South Norfolk Council planning officers have recommended the application for approval.

Diss Town councillor Graham Minshull said it is disheartening to think large retail shops could move in when the town prides itself on small businesses.

He said: 'The individualism of Diss is the small businesses and shops. We have Norwich up the road for big shops. We want to protect our traders.

'It will affect them. Some are hanging on by the teeth. It will make a hard job harder.'

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Mr Minshull raised concerns about Park Road and whether the already busy road could handle more traffic.

He said: 'Lorries will have to turn into the road and this will stop traffic. It could bring it to a standstill. I don't think it is the ideal site for a retail park.'

In an access statement, Marston's said: 'The proposal will provide a well designed retail development in an area characterised by a mixture of nondescript commercial and industrial development.'

Diss businessman Peter Hyde, who is involved in the Diss Heritage Triangle Project, said he will get a petition and letter of objection together from the town's traders.

He said: 'In view of the support South Norfolk Council have put in the project, how can they then support something that is going to take people away from the town?

'We struggle to keep the shops open. You can't compete with the chains. It's difficult to keep enthusiasm when you get planning applications like this.'

The application will be decided by South Norfolk Council on Wednesday, March 2.

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