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Developer resubmits plans for former Diss graveyard

A planning application has been resubmitted, proposing to build a house on a former graveyard.

Andy Robinson, who bought the plot in Croft Lane, Diss, more than five years ago, first submitted plans for a two-bedroom bungalow along with a garage and “a chapel-style entrance port” in April.

The application was withdrawn in October after South Norfolk Council planning officers highlighted a number of key issues that could prevent it being approved, such as trees, surface water drainage and archaeology.

The former burial ground of Diss Baptist Church in Croft Lane.
The former burial ground of Diss Baptist Church in Croft Lane.

After “intensive archaeological work”, the planning application was resubmitted last month.

The archaeological survey carried out last year found that between 100 to 120 individuals are buried on the site from a period from 1790 to 1890.

Individual graves are likely to contain complete skeletal remains and a range of surviving structural remains, coffins and their fittings and possibly textile material.

A document attached to the planning application states that build design and underground pipework have been designed to avoid “disturbing what is buried below and will remain there”.

It said: “The design will give the ground more of the respect it deserves and not try to hide what it has been.”

South Norfolk Council first approved plans to build on the site a decade ago, with the time limit for permission subsequently extended.

The land, believed to be associated with the now-demolished chapel, was sold by Diss Baptist Church with planning permission to build, following extensive research of the graves, including ground penetrating radar examining what was beneath the surface.

The ground, as it was, has been described as neglected and overrun with undergrowth and rubbish.

In his application, Mr Robinson stated his intention to plant four new trees after the yew tree was severely damaged in a storm and had to be removed.

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Previous plans would have seen the new bungalow built on foundation pilings to minimise disruption to graves in the ground beneath.

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