The scale of pub giant J D Wetherspoon’s plan for Diss has been revealed with a planned investment of £2.2 million, creating more than 50 jobs.
The news comes amid South Norfolk Council approving the plans, set for Kings Head Yard, Mere Street, last week.
We have always been keen to open one of our pubs in Diss and this is a great step in the right directionEddie Gershon
Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said: “We are delighted that the planning application has been approved.
“We have always been keen to open one of our pubs in Diss and this is a great step in the right direction.
“Diss is a very attractive town and we are confident that its residents and visitors will welcome a Wetherspoon pub.”
The pub giant will apply for a drinks licence “in due course”.
Planning permission for a restaurant at the site had initially been secured by landowner Joe Darrell in 2013. It was in July of this year that Wetherspoons submitted fresh plans on the original application by 396 square metres, to a total floor space of 953 square metres.
Diss Town Council had initially recommended refusal on the plan in documents to South Norfolk Council.
They said while the extension of the floor space was acceptable in principle, it compromised the planning consent for the Mere boardwalk, as well as direct access to Hales Yard from Mere Street.
But, after town clerk Deborah Sarson met with representatives of Wetherspoons to address their concerns, the planning committee offered a recommendation of approval to the modified plans at a September meeting.
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.
“I think it will result in a number of things, it will probably mean the closure of more pubs,” he said.
“But it is not just going to affect pubs. Wetherspoons by its very nature specialises not only in low price beers but early morning breakfasts and early openings, so that is going to have a negative effect on coffee shops, tea shops, breakfast cafes in and around Mere Street.
“There may be 50 new jobs but there could be quite a lot that could fall by the wayside.”
Mr Crowest dismissed suggestions it would bring more people into Diss, saying people would not travel out of their way to go to a Wetherspoons, and added he had concerns of safety in regard to its position to the Mere.
Peter Abery, spokesman for the Mid Anglia Camra branch, told the Diss Express in July Wetherspoon’s arrival could attract more people into the town, while he felt the pub giant occupies a niche in the marketplace, meaning existing public houses with “good reputations” should be unaffected.
n What do you think? Is a Wetherspoons good for Diss? Would you use the new restaurant and bar? Let us know – email firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet us @Diss_Express