Morrisons loses bid to build shops in car park

Morrisons supermarket in Diss
Morrisons supermarket in Diss

A supermarket’s plans to sacrifice parking spaces to build four small shop units in its car park have been thrown out.

Objectors to the plan for the Morrisons store in Diss argued that it would undermine traders in the traditional town centre and the newly-created Heritage Triangle.

They also said the town could not afford to lose more than 50 parking spaces, which would have been needed to make way for the four retail units.

The objectors were supported by South Norfolk councillors, who, on Wednesday, turned down the plans on the grounds of poor design and layout and the loss of car parking.

Peter Hyde, chairman of the Heritage Triangle Traders’ Group, said that more developments around Morrisons would have created a real imbalance between the Diss supermarket area and the town centre.

He said if business became concentrated around the supermarkets, shoppers would follow for the convenience and parking, and the traffic situation along Park Road and Victoria Road would get even worse.

Mr Hyde added that the Morrisons designs were bland and contributed nothing visually to the town, and they would also have been visible from the conservation area.

Mr Hyde said a councillor at the meeting where the plans were refused said the supermarket company had apparently submitted about 80 similar applications around the country, and described the designs as “lazy and speculative”.

Julian Mason, interim leader of Diss Town Council, said protecting the town centre was key and the loss of parking spaces would have been detrimental.

A spokesman for Morrisons, who also had plans for a car wash and a tyre service area, said the company was disappointed and was reviewing its options.