The ambitious £3 million project to regenerate an historic area of Diss known as the Heritage Triangle moved another step closer to its ultimate goal after formal plans were given the green light by South Norfolk Council.
A planning application proposing an extensive refurbishment of the Diss Corn Hall, a replacement to the existing extension, and associated works on the nearby St Nicholas Street received conditional approval from planners late last month. A separate application detailing plans for building a boardwalk, pavilions, a wildlife garden and a viewing platform at the Mere also obtained approval, with conditions, a week later.
Diss town mayor Keith Kiddie said he was pleased to see everything moving “in the right direction” as the preparations are put in place for the start of construction works later in 2015.
Cllr Kiddie told the Diss Express: “We are all very pleased that it’s going the way it is, in this time frame. This is a very big and complex project.
“I think a project of this scale and magnitude in the town is something that will only happen once in a generation.
“To revitalise this part of the town and to refurbish the Corn Hall into a regional centre will serve the town for 25 to 30 years. I am very hopeful the Corn Hall will go from strength to strength.”
This planning permission follows Diss Town Council’s appointment of Moss King Associates, of which Sheila Moss King is a director, to serve as the Programme Manager for the scheme going forward.
Mrs Moss King is also manager of the Diss Heritage Partnership.
Cllr Kiddie added that South Norfolk Council’s Market Towns Initiative, which recently underwent a strategic overhaul and appointed a new Market Towns co-ordinator, had been important in 2014 and would be key in bringing together the Heritage Triangle project as a “unified whole.”
“Nobody’s got a monopoly on great ideas,” he said. “The Market Towns Initiative was hugely important in the run up to Christmas.
“Before the first shovel goes in the ground, it’s important to make sure all these schemes are joined up. We have gone to a lot of trouble to make sure everything is in place.”