Supermarket’s hotel plans for Diss site

Diss could be set for a jobs and tourism boost after a supermarket giant submitted plans for a hotel on a prominent brownfield site.

The former Hamlin electronics factory, off the A1066 Park Road, has been redundant since 1996 and was demolished four years ago.

But the development arm of Tesco has this week signalled a �4.5m investment of the site with ambitious proposals for a 60-bedroom three-storey hotel, restaurant and pub.

An outline planning application by Spen Hill Developments, which has been submitted to South Norfolk Council, would see the creation of almost 100 new jobs on the 1.5ha (3.7 acres) site.

The scheme, which has been welcomed by local councillors and business leaders, would fit in with district council proposals and create an access road for the regeneration of the area south of Park Road to include new housing, leisure use and riverside walks.

Glyn Walden, district and town councillor, said Diss only had 118 hotel and B&B rooms within a seven-mile radius and there was a demand for around 200. He added that new accommodation was needed if Diss was to host the Action for Market Towns convention in 2012 and it would help the development of the Diss Corn Hall as a conference centre.

'Diss is the gateway to the Waveney Valley that is being developed as a tourist destination and there is a need for good quality accommodation.'

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'I do not think anyone should be afraid of this and I think it will ease the fears of some traders who had concerns about a new shopping centre taking the town centre even further south. This will bring more business. We are pleased at long, long last that Tesco, after four years, has got something going,' he said.

Jenna Cox, spokesman for the Diss Business Forum, said the proposals were good news as long as it was a quality development and in keeping with the area.

'A little competition is not a bad thing and it will up everyone's game. If they are having public spaces for conferences and function rooms it can only be a bonus because at the moment there is almost nothing,' she said.

Officials from the regeneration subsidiary of Tesco said the 'landmark' hotel, which does not yet have a name, would help boost Diss town centre and the development would not compete directly with existing facilities.

Mark Witham, of Spen Hill Developments, said: 'We are very keen to work with Diss Town Council and South Norfolk Council regarding our scheme. We are bringing forward a scheme involving a restaurant and hotel which will benefit Diss. We look forward to the public consultation period.'

People have until February 3 to comment on the proposals.