Diss was bustling with visitors as people got the chance to experience the improvements to the town first-hand on Saturday.
The Heritage Lottery-funded £3.4m Heritage Triangle project is nearing its completion – and has seen work on the Diss Corn Hall, a new boardwalk across the Mere, and streetscaping in the historic commercial heart of the town.
Music, from the likes of Joe Aiken, Mat Yellop, Phil Wells, Rafa Mendes-Browne, Jonny Ling and Alan Smith, poetry from Leo Wainwright – aka mayor of Diss Trevor Wenman – and refreshments from butcher DA Browne and Son and Coffee on Wheels kept people entertained, fed and watered.
Families also took part in Dinsdale’s Triangle Trail for their chance to win prizes donated by Triangle traders.
Programme manager for the project, Sheila Moss King, said there were parts of the boardwalk to finish – including detail on the decking, planting in the gardens, and planters on the streets, and the rest of the interpretation to be installed.
She added it was hoped the boardwalk would be fully open on the day. But thanks to “terrible” weather last week, contractors were not able to complete the Mereside balustrade, which meant people could not complete the full loop through from King’s Head Yard.
People absolutely loved the boardwalk, and the different perspective it gave of the MereSheila Moss King, programme manager, Heritage Triangle Project
“People absolutely loved the boardwalk, and the different perspective it gave of the Mere,” she said.
“We are delighted that so many new people came to the Triangle, and not only enjoyed sitting on the decks at the top of the garden, but also had fun wandering around the streets, finding our great independent traders, listening to buskers, visiting the Corn Hall and admiring the planters.
“It is early days, but it’s looking as though one of our key aims of the programme – economic regeneration of the Triangle – is on track to become a reality.
“Shops are busier, people are staying longer, and there is greater awareness of what this lovely part of Diss has to offer.
“All of our grant funders, including the Heritage Lottery Fund, will be delighted by this early progress.”
A spokeswoman for Diss Town Council added: “We would like to apologise to anyone who visited the boardwalk and felt disappointed that half of it was closed.
“Due to the heavy rain and storms last Friday, the work has been delayed and therefore, it would have been unsafe for people to cross the last stretch.
“It is due to be completed very soon but until; then, it will remain closed to the public.
“We thank you for your patience.”