Controversial plans to develop Parish Fields in Diss to be discussed this week
Controversial plans to develop a town centre green space in Diss into retirement bungalows will be debated at a public meeting this week.
Developer Scott Residential wants to build 24 retirement bungalows on privately owned, undeveloped land at Diss Lawns - known as Parish Fields - between Shelfanger Road and Mount Street in Diss.
In 2017 a land availability assessment concluded the site was unsuitable for the project - but a consultation last year, made on behalf of the developer, said proposals have fundamentally changed after talks with the town council and Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group.
The consultation, by Strutt and Parker, said the size of area for development had been ‘promoted’ and the number of buildings reduced. The site may now be included in the emerging Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan, as part of efforts to open up the site for public use.
"The site should be considered on a qualitative basis in line with the emerging neighbourhood plan and the presumption in favour of sustainable development," says the Strutt and Parker report.
"Significant weight should be afforded to public benefits of providing public access, the physical improvements to space, its function and contribution to townscape, along with the delivery of a modest amount of retirement bungalows, in a highly sustainable and attractive environment."
There is currently no public access, but the site is listed in the South Norfolk local plan as an important local space, with historic associations.
A new proposed site layout was discussed in December with representatives from the Neighbourhood Plan steering group and Diss Town Council.
The report said the scheme was well received.
Strutt and Parker state the “significant public benefits” would outweigh any drawbacks, providing “much needed accommodation for the ageing population”.
The consultation states the site is immediately available for work to start and could be ready for use within two years of planning permission being granted.
Scott Residential is seeking further advice from the district and town councils, as well as other stakeholders before it submits a detailed application.
The plans have prompted a raft of criticism on social media with commentators urging each other to attend the town council meeting to air their views.
The meeting will be held at the Corn Hall, on Wednesday, January 9, at 7.15pm