Plans to develop land at Diss mere
CELIA WIGG A new restaurant, shops and housing complex is planned on the banks of a picturesque town centre lake. Applicant Tacolneston Estate Ltd has submitted plans to South Norfolk Council to redevelop an existing pay and display car park in Mere Street, Diss.
A new restaurant, shops and housing complex is planned on the banks of a picturesque town centre lake.
Applicant Tacolneston Estate Ltd has submitted plans to South Norfolk Council to redevelop an existing pay and display car park in Mere Street, Diss.
The privately-owned site, at King's Head Yard, is in the town conservation area overlooking Diss Mere and is designated an
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The proposal is for a single storey restaurant/bar, and a three-storey building comprising two small shop units on the ground floor, with four studio apartments above. The development will be of contemporary design featuring untreated timber cladding from sustainable sources that will weather naturally to a silver sheen. It is a sloping site, and the curved profile of the highest section will act as a backdrop to a new public terrace and waterfront.
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Agents for the applicant, Freeland Rees Roberts Architects, say in their design statement: “The current perception of the town centre, and especially Mere Street, is that the town lacks amenities such as pavement cafes and bars catering for the needs of residents and visitors. There are references to Diss being a ghost town in the evenings, signifying a lack of activity in the town centre.
“Mere Street is perceived to be outdated and in need of modernisation. The street is full of card and charity chops which appear quaint and charming, but does not contribute to the social side of the centre.”
The plans include improving public access to the mere - removing two existing willows and replacing them with a line of trees, possibly silver birch, to create a waterside promenade. A right of way, giving access to neighbouring Woolworth's store, and other properties to the south would not be affected by the development.
Mayor of Diss, Simon Olander, said the town council had asked the planning authority for additional time to comment on the plans.
“We had these proposals at the planning sub-committee in December, and because of the importance of the site we decided to put it to the next meeting in January. Obviously, we wanted to debate it properly and South Norfolk council has granted us extra time.”
District councillor Brian Clark-Taylor said the potential loss of a central pay and display car park would be one of the main issues to be considered.
“The state of the car park leaves a lot to be desired. It is not up to the standard that South Norfolk Council has. There is an access issue and I will be asking for the application to go to committee.”
He added: “Anything that brings people here is a good idea but once it is granted how many more will want to get their land around the mere developed? It could snowball. I have already heard of another organisation that could have a similar idea, and I think this application is testing the water.”