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Town council’s planning committee discusses Diss Burger King and Costa Coffee drive-thru scheme

Plans for Burger King and Costa Coffee drive-thrus as well as eight electric vehicle charging points in Diss went before the town council’s planning committee on Wednesday to gauge opinion and any concerns ahead of an official planning application.

The pre-planning presentation from Leslie Short of Artisan Planning and Development Consultants and developer Jamie Glerum of The Charge showed the scheme would be built at the eastern end of Victoria Road, next to De Lucy Care House.

Councillor Eric Taylor, who was voted to remain as the committee’s chairman at the meeting, said on looking at the documents the project had a ‘a few mountains to climb’

The plans for the drive-thrus and electric charging points for the Victoria Road development. Picture submitted
The plans for the drive-thrus and electric charging points for the Victoria Road development. Picture submitted

But he added: “We are not against the development and we as a council and the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan would be happy to be involved and discuss these concerns going forwards.”

The pre planning statement from Artisan Planning says the half-hectare site could employ up to 25 full time and 10 part time staff.

But concerns from councillors were raised on a number of issues, including the site being on flood zones, hold ups it could cause on Victoria Road and the site being a part of the town’s green corridor.

Starting the town’s planning committee meeting, Cllr Taylor said he felt there were six areas of concern with the pre application.

As well as the green corridor and the potential flood issues, he said the development was not part of the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan, which will be used to shape where developments in the town can go in the future.

He said after the neighbourhood plan goes for cabinet approval next month, it would ‘carry weight’and that the developers should ‘take notice of it’ for its future application.

He added: “So the developer has a few mountains to climb. We are not against the plans in principle, but there are quite a few hurdles to get through.”

The chairman also spoke of an email sent to him by the River Waveney Trust, who felt the development would have an ‘adverse impact on water quality’, raised an issue about water run off from the site potentially going into the river, concerns on lighting, noise and a lack of public access to the river – which is one of the trust’s core objectives.

But he said that the trust was more than happy to talk to the developers and about these concerns.

In response, Mr Short said: “This is very much a pre application, so most of the points you and the trust have brought up there are all subjects of technical assessments, which are 99 per cent complete.

“All of these technical reports you will have before you make a decision at a later date.

“At this point, we have come to show where we are, in pre application mode, this is an evolving scheme and we want to give you the chance to voice concerns so it did not just land on your lap from South Norfolk Council when this goes in as a formal planning application.”

Cllr Jim Welch said his concerns, after being down to the site, was the access and hold ups of traffic on Victoria Road by people using the site and the work forces building it.

Mr Short said: “The district council identified, through Norfolk County Council, the need for a full transport assessment, which has been done.

“Which looked at queue times within the site and we are certain that the amount of lane space provided on site was sufficient.

“Part of the planning consent if and when it were issued would also have a construction management plan covering the usual suspects, such as material delivers.”

Cllr George Waterman said having the like of these national and multi-national companies wanting to invest in Diss was exactly what residents have said they have wanted to him.

He added: “So for me it is encouraging these types of companies want to come here and improve the offering of Diss, but I having been part of studies along the River Waveney taking water quality samples there is a marked drop in biodiversity water quality where they were near any type of development.

“Also, the land is part of the green corridor going out of Diss and the town is a bit of a black spot for those at the moment.

“My final point, that sort of investment and the electric charge points, love it bring it to Diss, however there are quite a few areas within the Diss boundary itself which are brown fields sites or are going to be in the next few years that just might suit this development a bit better.”

Mr Glerum said all the points were being taken on board and that this feedback was the sort of thing they wanted, after also discussing the plans with others including the management team at De Lucy Care Home.

He said: “We feel it is good to engage with yourselves and the others at this stage of development.

“We wanted to do this rather than to totally ignore you, like others have before, and steamroll in with this development.”

A full application on the scheme has yet to be put forward to South Norfolk District Council.

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