Norfolk town’s new Marston food pub given the go ahead

The first of potentially two new pub and restaurant developments in a Norfolk town was given the go ahead by councillors on Wednesday, creating 50 new jobs.

South Norfolk Council's development management committee approved plans by Marston Inns and Taverns for a new 180 seat restaurant and pub at the former Hamlin electronics factory site in Park Road, Diss which is being targeted at people aged in their 40s and 50s and families.

Michael Robson, a chartered planner for the applicant, said the pub would be one of 25 being opened across the country by Marston Inns this year and would not be opening late so no door staff would be needed, although there would be a manager on site staying in a first floor flat, who would oversee security.

He said trees at the front of the site would be protected, adding: 'In my opinion it will significantly enhance the appearance of this site and the important trees on the frontage will be protected.'

Councillor Tony Palmer, who represents Diss, said the site had been derelict and untidy for some time, despite discussions with the landowner to get a new development on there.

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He added: 'It is a very welcome addition to the view of the people of Diss as we drive along the main road so as the local member for that area I thoroughly support this application.'

Harold Rackham, representing Diss Town Council, also spoke at the meeting to warn the committee unless a cycleway was introduced as part of a widened footpath at the front of the site, the plans could be 'disastrous' for cyclists.

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Planning officer Gary Hancox said the footpath was going to be improved, but widening the path would need extra planning permission which was going to be decided in due course.

He said the council's planning officers supported the scheme, which fitted into the overall character of buildings in the area and was acceptable in the conservation area.

The pub will join a 60 bed hotel, off the A1066 opposite Diss Park, measuring 15.5mx12m and sited fronting onto Park Road to the west of the bus station.

The councillors were also concerned about the entrance to the site off Park Road, which will be shared with whoever builds the hotel at the rear of the 1.55ha brownfield site, next to Diss bus station.

Another planning application has been submitted for a mezzanine floor for a planned new J D Wetherspoon pub at King's Head Yard, off Mere Street in Diss which will also be a pub and restaurant.

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