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Diss Shopkeepers urge calm in town centre

Traders call for calm in the Diss Heritage Triangle
Traders call for calm in the Diss Heritage Triangle

Shopkeepers in Diss have issued a message to residents: keep calm and shop on.

Traders in the Heritage Triangle have made the plea to motorists and residents after a new road layout and regulations were introduced in August.

The controlled parking zone – which saw the removal of 11 parking spaces, yellow lines and road signs in the centre of town – has continued to cause confusion.

But shopkeepers in the Heritage Triangle say the problem has been made worse by motorists simply ignoring road rules, weight and speeding limits and also parking in a random fashion.

“I wish people would just slow down a bit, as it really does bug me,” said Justine Staines, who runs Fairchild’s Tea Rooms in St Nicholas Street.

“Motorists should show more respect. I have recently had a lorry knock a chunk off the corner of my shop in the night and also heard people come down the hill and even blow their horns at a funeral cortege across the road at St Mary’s Church.

“It is dangerous the way that some motorists ignore the speed limits and, quite simply, if they can’t read road signs, they shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a one-tonne killing machine.

“The changes are good for the town and we have had six new shops open up already since they began, all independents.”

Diss Heritage Triangle was revamped following a £3.4 million cash injection from grants including the Heritage Lottery Fund, Diss Town Council, South Norfolk Council and Norfolk County Council.

The new road layout involved the removal of eleven parking spaces on Market Hill, with the speed limit remaining at 20mph.

In a survey by the Heritage Triangle Trust, before the work, 85 per cent of shoppers said they would be prepared to walk into town.

“The overall aim is to calm the area, and this means both motorists and pedestrians,” said Sheila Moss King, the project’s leader.

“We want people to take their time and enjoy all that the Heritage Triangle has to offer.

“There are 60 independent businesses in this area as well as a wealth of history.”

As part of the alterations, kerbs have also been lowered and pavements widened.

Loading and off-loading is still allowed in the controlled parking zone, which also applies to shoppers purchasing heavy goods.

The triangle includes two general parking bays and six disabled bays.

Matt Hyde, who runs Diss Ironworks in St Nicholas Street, said he felt the new layout was a “great improvement”, but noted a problem of speeding, both in the morning and at rush-hour.

“We also have some people who think it is a race track,” he said.

“They roar around the triangle on mopeds. We could do without that kind of anti-social behaviour.”

Gloria Rowe, who runs, Albright’s craft shop, also in St Nicholas Street, said she felt the new zone was already bringing in extra customers.

“I have run a shop in Diss for 32 years and, while some people are finding the new layout a problem, the overall impression I get is that people love the space.

“I see more people from out of town and they comment on what a fantastic town it is.

“The triangle is a place for people to now meander and take their time.”

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