Rejection of 142 homes plan in Diss ‘a victory for the people’

Land at Frenze Hall Lane, Diss
Land at Frenze Hall Lane, Diss
  • South Norfolk Council go against recommendation and rejects plans
  • But turned down on design, not infrastructure
  • Campaigner says decision was a “victory for the people”

The rejection of a plan for 142 new homes in Diss has been described as “a victory for the people” by a campaigner against the application.

South Norfolk Council’s Development Management Committee voted against a recommendation of approval in turning down the plans on Wednesday, which were submitted by Persimmon Homes for land north of Frenze Hall Lane, drawing applause from a packed public gallery.

More than 65 residents attended a Diss Town Council planning committee meeting to offer a recommendation on Persimmon Homes' plan for Frenze Hall Lane. ANL-160402-163912001

More than 65 residents attended a Diss Town Council planning committee meeting to offer a recommendation on Persimmon Homes' plan for Frenze Hall Lane. ANL-160402-163912001

Despite fears over infrastructure expressed by numerous parties, the application was rejected on the basis of poor design, and the form, bulk and massing of the properties.

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said he was “disappointed” with the decision, and they were considering “all options available.”

Nick Woods, a member of the residents’ group Diss-Organised which was formed in the wake of the application to try and get the best deal for the town, told the Diss Express the decision was a “good result”.

The principle of homes on the site has been established by the adoption of the Local Plan by South Norfolk Council, which Diss Town Council objected to in consultations in 2012, 2013, and to the Planning Inspector in 2014/15.

All we want is the developer to come back with an improved design that takes into account the issues and concerns of Diss people, the residents and the town council, who have all been instrumental in proving people power counts

Nick Woods, member of Diss-Organised

“We have forced the developer to go away and rethink their design and layout for the estate,” he said. “This is a big victory for the people.

“They all worked hard to persuade those in authority to reject an allocated housing development site and make developers aware that people matter and people have an input.

“Those who delivered leaflets and flyers in the rain, those that objected en masse and those that attended the council meeting, they all did their bit. This is their victory.

“All we want is the developer to come back with an improved design that takes into account the issues and concerns of Diss people, the residents and the town council, who have all been instrumental in proving people power counts.

“We all know the infrastructure and services in Diss can barely cater for what we currently have. Hopefully today a message has been sent that it can never be right that dramatic developments can happen in an established community, without due consideration to the local residents or regard to the environment.”

Mr Davidson added: “The layout of the residential scheme was designed following extensive discussion and consultation with the planning officer and design officer. It is therefore disappointing that committee members decided not carry forward the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application for 142 dwellings.

“Persimmon are currently considering all the options available in order to deliver much needed housing on a site allocated for residential development.”

Diss town mayor Julian Mason told the Diss Express he was pleased with the decision, believing it was “the right one”, but said he was disappointed that the access from Falcon Avenue was not viewed as a point for rejection, with the town council supporting access from Walcot Green Road from the project’s inception.

“We will continue to fight to change the access point away from Falcon Avenue,” he added.