Delight as Diss set to keep its Cittaslow status

Diss is set to keep its Cittaslow status.

The news was announced at a meeting of the tourism leisure and communities committee on Wednesday following a decision by Diss Town Council to give residents three months to form an independent committee or face losing the status for the town.

Diss Community Partnership (DCP), an organisation that works to promote a sense of community and sustainable living in and around Diss, has agreed to take responsibility for Cittaslow.

The role will mean taking over the £1,500 a year subscription fee which Diss Town Council has agreed to pay for a further year to allow the organisation to find their feet, as well as promoting the town as a healthier, greener, happier and slower place to live.

Jacob Eccleston, secretary of DCP, said: “We had quite a long discussion about it and we decided we are prepared to give it a go. It fits in quite well with what Diss Community Partnership does, which is to try and improve the environment and lives of people in Diss.

“We will take it over for the time being and see how it goes and if it goes well and we can afford it we will pay the subscription fee next year.

“There’s all sorts of things that are going on in Diss which fits in with the slow food movement and we very much want to work with Diss Town Council where possible.”

Diss town councillor Tony Palmer, who fought to keep the status for the town, arguing that it had attracted at least £200,000 of funding for Diss, approached DCP about taking it over and attended a meeting last week.

He said: “I’m very pleased Diss Community Partnership is going to take it on. They were the organisation that introduced it to the town council in the first place.

“We are all set now to keep it going as a community project, of course with the town council’s support.”

Diss was granted Cittaslow status in 2006 and is one of only five towns in the UK which has been awarded it.

Cittaslow was run by an independent committee when it was originally formed but was absorbed into the town council’s tourism leisure and communities committee.

The council held a special meeting on January 30 where it was decided that they would no longer take responsibility for Cittaslow after many councillors questioned what it does for Diss and whether local people understand what it is.

Speaking after Wednesday’s meeting, town mayor Graham Minshull, said: “It’s a great thing for the town because at the end of the day they will be raising their own subscription and they will be able to bring grants into the town to spend on different projects.

“I just wanted to make sure that they knew what they were taking on and they seem to be able to do it so that’s the main priority.”