The high profile of Wetherspoons could attract more people to Diss, according to the programme manager of the Heritage Triangle project.
Earlier this month a planning application lodged by the pub giant for a premises at Kings Head Yard was approved, with a spokesperson saying more than 50 jobs could be created in the town.
We think this will bring new people to the town, as Wetherspoons has such a high profileSheila Moss King
And, with the £3 million Heritage Triangle project underway in a bid to regenerate the town centre, it means more than £5.2 million will be invested in Diss when Wetherspoons opens.
Sheila Moss King, programme manager for the Diss Heritage Triangle and Diss Corn Hall Project, told the Diss Express: “We think this will bring new people to the town, as Wetherspoons has such a high profile.
“The development is very close to the Heritage Triangle as our boardwalk starts there, and we’ve been in discussion with Wetherspoons’ architects to ensure that their plans work in harmony with ours for the boardwalk.
“It will be lovely for local people to walk through a newly landscaped yard then onto the Boardwalk and up to the Triangle to visit all our independent shops.
“Any new positive investment in the town centre is welcomed, particularly if it will attract more footfall.
“We’re delighted to see Kings Head Yard being improved and turned into an asset for the town.”
In last week’s Diss Express, Alan Crowest, specialist and consultant for licensed trade at Diss-based property agents TW Gaze, said he believes Wetherspoon’s arrival could have adverse effects on businesses in the town.
But Mrs Moss King said: “We hope it won’t be an issue, and that Wetherspoons will attract new people to Diss rather than just drawing existing customers away from local businesses, rather in the way that the supermarkets bring many more people to Diss than visited before.
“It will be challenging for local pubs and cafes, but each of them has their own character and unique style, and therefore can offer attractive alternatives to Wetherspoons.”
Reaction from the public to the news has been mixed.
While some were pleased at the pub giant’s successful application, there was some concern for existing pubs in the town.
Ruth Bolger commented: “Do we really need another drinking hole? We have enough already and each one is lovely. We should look at the state of the selection of shops...seven charity shops that’s almost more than Norwich has.”
n Read more reaction to Wetherspoons’ potential arrival in Diss — turn to page 9