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Council officers recommend refusal of Marston hotel and shops plans in Diss

By Newsdesk Diss

A national pub chain’s latest bid to build a hotel and retail development in Diss have hit a roadblock, after failing to secure support from council officers, writes Local Democracy Reporter, David Hannant.

Thatchers Needle - Diss. (6783748)
Thatchers Needle - Diss. (6783748)

For close to a decade, Marston’s has been aiming to build a hotel and retail units behind the Thatchers Needle pub, with a number of proposed schemes failing to materialise.

Now, the chain’s latest bid appears to have hit a snag of its own, with council officers recommending councillors refuse the scheme next week.

The revised scheme is seeking to build a 27-bedroom hotel and three retail units on land behind the pub on Park Road, close to the town’s bus station.

However, fears the development could contribute to driving people away from the town centre have led to council officers calling for it to be turned down.

Clare Curtis, South Norfolk’s officer for the case, said: “The proposed retail floorspace is likely to have a significant adverse impact upon the vitality of Diss town centre.”

In the revised scheme, the chain proposed limiting what goods could be sold from the units to dissuade small traders from abandoning the town centre, however the officer did not feel this was sufficient to mitigate the potential impact.

Her report also raised concerns about how the proposed development would affect the landscape of the area.

It adds: “The proposal, by virtue of the size and scale of the units, would harm the setting of the Diss Conservation Area through breaking the visual connection between Park Field to the landscape of the Waveney valley, and also through the impact of the design of buildings in terms of their untraditional size, scale and form.”

The pub chain previously failed in a bid to build retail units on the space, which was also unsuccessful at appeal.

In 2011, it was given permission to build a 60-bedroom hotel on the site, however, the chain later said it was unable to make the development financially viable.

Members of South Norfolk Council’s planning committee will decide the fate of the application on Wednesday, January 30.

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