The proposed development of four large shop units in Diss would increase traffic congestion, draw people away from the town centre, and would compete with independent traders “in direct opposition to the £3 million Heritage Triangle Project”.
That’s according to Diss Town Council, which is set to recommend refusal on plans by pub chain Marstons, which wants to develop the site behind the Thatcher’s Needle pub on the A1066, Park Road.
South Norfolk Council will have the final say on the plans.
The town council claims the proposals would be “significantly damaging” to the traffic situation in the road, with an extra 800 vehicle movements a day during the week, and 1,500 at the weekends, according to their transport assessment, should the plans get the green light. There were also concerns that, in the long term, the potential development of up to 290 homes in Eye would further exacerbate the problems on the busy road.
In their response, they add the plans would “directly contradict the significant investment in the largest project the town has seen for decades,” in the form of the Heritage Triangle project in the heart of Diss.
District councillor for Diss, Tony Palmer, said: “I will be going to the planning committee (at South Norfolk Council), and I will be speaking against it strongly.”
Councillor Trevor Wenman added: “It is somewhat rather speculative. They have no confirmed tenants, so they are not responding to the demand or need from, in particular, national chains.
“They are just trying to get the most that they can out of the site and it is our job as representatives of the community to oppose that.”
In planning documents to South Norfolk Council, Marstons claims: “The proposal will provide a well designed retail development in an area characterised by a mixture of nondescript commercial and industrial development, and an adjacent existing public house.
“Its accessible location, on bus routes and within walking distance of the town centre makes it a sustainable location for retail provision.”
Norfolk County Council’s highways department this week had their say on the application, citing no objections to the development.
Engineer for major developments Liz Poole said: “Whilst there will be some impact on the highway network during the Friday evening peak and Saturday peak hours, this is minimal.
“The site is close to the town centre and other retail areas and so there will be an element of cross visitation and linked trips.”