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Diss shopkeepers discuss what they think would boost town trade

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Shopkeepers, pubs and cafes in Diss have named their top priorities for beating the high-street blues.

Mere Street
Mere Street

Parking problems, cleanliness, a lack of local support, buskers, absentee landlords, long leases, uneven pavements, and business rates are all on the list of grumbles.

But one thing unites the town’s traders from the bottom of Mere Street to the top of the Heritage Triangle - and that’s signs.

Signs both welcoming people to the town - directing them around - and also advising them where best to park.

Cleanliness was also high on the list and making a united effort.

Nicola Ready, who runs Flories clothing and accessories store on Market Place, which sits on the border of both Mere Street and the Heritage Triangle, said: “When I opened my shop in September last year, people were lovely and seemed really pleased that another shop had opened.

“I wanted to make it look as attractive as I could, so put out some table and chairs, some flowers, made sure the pavement was clean, just to make it look pretty, really.

“It’s an attractive town and I wanted to add to it. We could perhaps all get together and start something like Diss in Bloom.

“We also need signage, quite prominent, to let people know that Diss is here and what it has to offer, at both ends.”

Nicola Ready of Flories. Picture by Chris Morris
Nicola Ready of Flories. Picture by Chris Morris

The Diss Express visited shopkeepers, cafes and pubs as part of its Fair Deal for Diss campaign.

Launched last month, the campaign aims to help highlight those areas residents, business and visitors feel most need addressing, from the road network, to health care and leisure provision.

Many people feel Diss and its surrounding parishes has been overlooked - even forgotten - when it comes to investment, especially in the face of new housing development and any county expansion plans.

A Fair Deal For Diss
A Fair Deal For Diss

As high streets across the country face increasing pressure, we asked traders for their top suggestions for helping the town prosper.

And also to imagine, if a large pot of money were to suddenly magically appear - what would they spend it on?

“Probably pressure washing some of the buildings,” said Gemma Brown, relief manager at MyHills Pet and Garden, on Mere Street.

“Also sorting out the drains, as sometimes, especially in summer at this end of the town, it really does smell.”

Along with signage, many traders felt a review or clarification of parking was needed.

Around the town centre, five car parks are currently managed by South Norfolk Council, one is privately run, while Tesco, Morrisons, and Aldi’s supermarket signs state parking is for customers only.

“Diss has so much going for it, and we just need signs to let people know” said Helen Dutton of Our Slice of Country Life on St Nicholas Street.

What traders want most:

Prominent Signs welcoming people to the town of diss and where the shops are

A parking review to help motorists navigate around, and encourage them to stay

A good old fashioned spruce up

Support from local people to help keep independents alive

To put pressure on landlords to keep their empty shops tidy

To put pressure on landlords to rethink long term leases

Diss in Bloom, murals in empty shop windows

New weekly attractions to add to the Friday market

* What do you think would most help boost customer numbers in Diss.

Your letters are always welcome. Email them to editorial@dissexpress.co.uk; send by post to Diss Express, Norfolk and Suffolk House, Mere Street, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4AE, or simply drop your letter through the letter box. Please make sure to include your contact details.

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