Controversial Diss housing scheme rejected

A national housebuilder was told to go back to the drawing board last night when plans for an 'uninspiring' development on the edge of Diss were rejected.

South Norfolk councillors refused a 120-home scheme off Frenze Hall Lane as a result of concerns about its poor design and high density.

The decision gives campaigners a crumb of hope for a future relief road to ease traffic congestion in the town after the development by Persimmon Homes had proposed to block off a long-running ambition to open the top of a notorious cul-de-sac – Vinces Road.

However, district councillors and officers said their hands were tied by outline planning permission for the 4.8ha site and it would very difficult to stop a proposed secondary access road through the residential Sycamore Way and force the applicant to open the top of Vinces Road to relieve traffic on the busy A1066 Victoria Road.

A South Norfolk planning committee rejected the housebuilder's amended plans for the greenfield site on design grounds. They added that proposals to locate all of the development's affordable housing to border the railway line was 'wholly unacceptable.'

The decision comes after Diss Town Council raised its objections to the project and 68 residents of Sycamore Way, Blackthorn Close and Hawthorn Close had signed a petition against it.

Deborah Sarson, town clerk, said the 'mish mash' plans did nothing to add to the character of the town and the council wanted to see something more 'innovative'. She added that the lack of a link road between Victoria Road and Frenze Hall Lane would 'severely blight' Diss in the future.

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Lisa Barnes, a resident of Blackthorn Close, said creating an access point through Sycamore Way would be 'an accident waiting to happen'.

But Rob Snowling, spokesman for Persimmon, said there was no evidence that opening the top of Vinces Road to cars and commercial traffic would improve traffic flow in the town. He added that the company was happy to spend some of its developer contributions on improving the junction of Vinces Road and Victoria Road. The firm says that it would have to remove 20 homes from its plans to create a Vinces Road link.

Bev Spratt said the layout of the proposals was 'terrible'.