Tesco to knock down eyesore factory

An eyesore factory that has been vacant on the main road through Diss for more than a decade will finally be knocked down by new owners Tesco - though a question mark remains over what will take its place.

An eyesore factory that has been vacant on the main road through Diss for more than a decade will finally be knocked down by new owners Tesco - though a question mark remains over what will take its place.

The Hamlin factory, on the A1066 Park Road, has long left people travelling through the town with the impression of industrial decay, with Diss's pretty centre mere hidden from both road and rail.

Tesco opened a store further along the A1066 last year, and bought the factory site - along with other parcels of land in the vicinity - at the same time to prevent rival Morrison, which has a bigger store between the two, from expanding further.

In a recent statement to the EDP, Tesco promised that it was not considering building a new, larger store on the Hamlin site.

But it is now thought that Tesco wants to develop the site into a retail park for other big-name stores, while civic leaders want the land for much-needed leisure facilities in the town, arguing that it is the only space available for potential development.

With discussions underway and planning applications months from being lodged, Tesco has now decided to demolish the factory as a good-will gift to townsfolk.

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Corporate affairs manager Michael Kissman told the EDP: “We are looking to demolish the factory and are looking longer-term at what is suitable for the site.

“In the meantime we recognise that some remedial work needs to happen to improve that area of town. It's a good way to proceed, for the benefit of the town, to demolish a building seen as at the end of its life.”

Mayor Brian Clark-Taylor, who has been working with town council colleagues on proposals for the land, which also includes the South Norfolk Council-owned bus station, said he was pleased with Tesco's announcement.

He said: “I very much welcome this decision. It's a step in the right direction - the former Hamlin factory is an eyesore for the town and we're all very pleased they're knocking it down.”