No let up in bid to block new homes by Diss Mereside
Opponents are not letting up in their objections to plans for three new homes by Diss Mere.
Although South Norfolk Council planning officers say the development should be allowed, opponents argue that access to and from the site behind the Chinese restaurant in St Nicholas’ Street presents particular difficulties and construction traffic will be a disruption in the Heritage Triangle.
And despite a scaling back of the original plans, they maintain it is still an over-development and will affect the adjoining wildlife garden behind the town council offices.
South Norfolk Council put off a decision for a second time last week and asked the developer to show how lorry movements and disruption would be managed during building work.
Ray Bryant, a trustee of the Corn Hall, said the houses would be “excavated” into the hillside of the Mere, requiring 650 cubic metres of soil to be removed as well as extensive piling. Lorries would have to negotiate a narrow dog-leg and an access through a yard shared by four shops.
He said the council’s own policy declared that developments in open spaces should make a “positive improvement” to the environment, and the proposal failed that. “If you disagree, tell me what I am missing,” he said.
Former trustee David Case said the council’s conservation officer no longer objected, although there was little change in the proposals. Access was a key point and he asked if there had been any assessment of the traffic required in a “massive earth-moving project”.
Peter Hyde, chairman of the Heritage Triangle Trust, said it was an erosion of the open spaces leading down to the Mere and it was still an over-development. “It was enormous and now it is big,” he said.
Diss Town Council leader Simon Olander and planning chairman Eric Taylor said that, although the footprint had been slightly reduced, it would still occupy nearly half of a designated important open space.
“To illustrate this point, if you were to stand in the community gardens on the boundary, you would be able to touch the proposed development and the buildings would tower around 11 metres above the ground,” he said.
He added that minor changes to the design only paid lip service to the original objections and the development and materials were out of character in the conservation area.
Keith Day, the architect for the development, said that, as requested, he was preparing a construction management scheme.
A council spokesman said that the committee wanted to make a decision on the application at its August meeting.