Diss homes plans meet hostile response

Plans to build another 200 or 300 homes in the Diss area as part of a growth strategy for South Norfolk were met with a hostile response at a public consultation.

The Local Development Framework was revealed at the consultation by South Norfolk Council in Mere Street yesterday and included plans to site the homes outside the Local Plan on greenfield land around the edges of Diss and in the corridor between Diss and Roydon.

Simon Marjoram, the council's senior planning officer, said out of the 200 homes, villages surrounding Diss would each receive between 10 or 20 houses, including Bressingham, Scole and Roydon.

But Diss resident Dr Barbara Thomas, of Walcott Green, described the proposed development areas, including agricultural land on the outskirts, as a 'tourniquet' squeezing the life out of the town.

She disputed whether the town had the transport infrastructure to support the development and felt the plans aimed more to make money for construction firms and the council rather than improve the quality of life in the town.

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'I just feel that the sheer level of residential development will bring so many people into this area and the local road infrastructure is totally and utterly inadequate.

'This is going to make Diss follow all the mistakes that were made with Wymondham, we will be building a mini megalopolis. These plans have been suggested by landowners to fulfil landowners' greed. Everyone is looking to build homes for their own profit,' Dr Thomas added.

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Martin Courtier, of Manor Road, Roydon said the development plans appeared 'unsustainable' in the long-term given the extra demands placed on electricity and gas supply and pressure placed on roads through the extra traffic generated.

He added: 'I don't think building houses is beneficial for the town, encouraging smaller businesses is. If there was demand there I could understand, but I fear this is something that is 'top down' and is being imposed on the town by the government.'

He said the housing market was very different now to how it was five years ago.

Neil Piercy, of Upper Street, Billingford was concerned there were no clear plans for developing the area around Victoria Road in Diss and that development appeared to be happening in a piecemeal fashion.

He felt Diss was quite a 'quiet' town and therefore more development would be unnecessary.

Mr Marjoram said the aim of the consultation was to get residents' views on which areas they would like to see developed and the council would then look at the results and hold another consultation next spring with more specific development sites.

According to the Greater Norwich Development Partnership's Joint Core Strategy (JCS), adopted by the council this year, South Norfolk will grow by 10,500 new homes over the next 15 years – with 2,200 earmarked for Wymondham. The town may also have to accommodate a slice of 1,800 'floating' homes not yet allocated across the district.

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