Mere’s Mouth Toilets

Diss Town Council (DTC) welcomes the District Council’s reminder of the commitments made by both DTC and South Norfolk Council (SNC) in 2015. If given the opportunity, DTC will fulfil its obligation to take on responsibility for the Mere’s Mouth toilets when SNC has fulfilled its obligations under the same agreement.

The Town Council’s April decision was based solely on revised proposals put forward by SNC. This return to our mutual obligations made in 2015, effectively nullifies that April decision. The situation is further complicated by the existence of a lease between SNC & the landowner (Diss Parochial Charities).

SNC gave £400,000 towards the construction in the Heritage Triangle. The conditions of the money being granted were that it could only be spent on the Heritage Triangle project and required public toilets to be provided in the Cornhall and the tourist Information office to be moved from its kiosk site.

The Town Council has been budgeting for the maintenance of the Mere’s Mouth toilets with the full intention of fulfilling its obligations.

Two surveys commissioned by SNC lead them to conclude that their £80,000 budget was insufficient to rectify the identified structural problems and in their view the buildings were best demolished. DTC was offered the £80,000 to take on the refurbishment at their own risk. However, given that the experts at SNC had not identified the additional costs involved and were not prepared to take on the risk themselves, DTC concluded it was not appropriate to put that burden on the taxpayers of Diss.

We would be happy to meet with Kay Mason-Billig to clarify the points where she feels there is confusion and to move the process forward. We do feel it is high time that the community in Diss, including our MP, were made aware of the facts surrounding the Mere’s Mouth toilets.

DTC is very happy to “face up to its responsibilities” as Richard Bacon says. Perhaps he could also urge SNC to do the same.

Note

The full details of the 2015 agreement are available under a Freedom of Information request and DTC urges any interested parties to obtain a copy this way.

Vacancy for Diss Town Clerk

Vacancy for the position of Town Clerk. 

Diss Town Council is located in South Norfolk close to the Suffolk border. The Town Council currently have 13 councillors and serve a population of over 7500.

The Town Council is a forward-looking authority who are constantly looking to promote the historic features of this quaint market town and ensure that development is complementary to the area.   We are seeking a new Clerk who will help shape the way we operate and work closely with members of the Council to bring about the changes we seek.  The post becomes vacant in September but if the right person is available sooner this would be considered. Salary will be based on local government scales plus personal experience.

You will be a proven leader and innovator and able to develop and maintain productive working relationships with members of the Council and colleagues within our organisation and beyond.  As well as demonstrating success in administrative management in a complex environment; and a solid understanding of local government; you will be an exceptional communicator, including adding value in community engagement. Providing clear and expert advice to the council and assisting in the development of our policies, your financial management and IT skills will be strong.

You will need to hold iLCA/CiLCA or be prepared to gain these qualifications following appointment.

The role is 37 hours per week.

Please call us on 01379 643848 for more information

The closing date for applications is Friday June 8th 2018.

Interviews will take place during the remainder of June at our Diss Office.

Please complete and send in a copy of our application form (plus CV) with full details of experience to date to:  Cllr Julian Mason, Council Leader, Diss Town Council, 11-12 Market Hill, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4JZ.

For further information, job description and job specification, please contact us on towncouncil@diss.gov.uk

Diss Town Mayor raises £1068 for his chosen charities!

At last night’s Annual Meeting of Full Council, cheques were presented to the Diss Town Mayor’s chosen charities; Norwich Mind & Tearfund, both very close to his heart.

Both charities received £534 each from money raised at various events lead by the Town Mayor in his Mayoral year.

Pictured below: Andy Robertson from Tearfund and Sarah Ingram from Norwich Mind.

Cllr Trevor Wenman was also re-elected to continue his role as Diss Town Mayor for another year by his fellow Town Councillors.

Annual Town Meeting 2018

Diss Town Council is hosting its Annual Town Meeting – a meeting of the electors of Diss and open to all town residents – on Tuesday 1st May 2018 from 6pm at the United Reformed Church on Mere Street.

The event will take a similar format to previous years with opportunities to network and find out what all three Councils have been doing on your behalf of the town over the last year.

There will also be a chance to:

  • Meet other local organisations and representatives
  • See Duncan Slater presented with the Honorary Freedom Award  as well as celebrating the achievements of our Honoured and Junior Good Citizens
  • Find out more about the year ahead

All welcome- spread the word!

Diss Town Council’s Element of Council Tax Increases from 1st April 2018

Diss Town Council were faced with another challenging budgetary decision this year. Our income from council tax has gone down by £63,000 over the last five years because of Government changes to the Council Tax benefit system.

Until last year we had tried to absorb that loss, but it became essential to phase in an above inflation increase over two years from April 2017 to plug this funding gap to continue to maintain our services.  The 13.6% increase from April 2018 works out on average at £22.35 for the year or £2.24 per month paid over 10 months. These figures are based on a Band D Council Tax household, which is the national criteria used for calculating Council Tax.

The recently completed £3.3M Heritage Triangle Project included a loan of £330,000 as the Town Council’s contribution to the project. This was a loan of a smaller amount than the £400,000 it was estimated it would have cost to make the Corn Hall watertight and deal with known structural issues, which would only have kept the building in its previous unregenerated form.

The regeneration and restoration of the Corn Hall could only be achieved through investment from other sources. The Heritage Lottery Fund was the only source that would provide the required level of funding but the Corn Hall on its own was not of sufficient heritage interest to them. The HLF would only consider projects that delivered real heritage benefits. The Corn Hall, the surrounding area and the boardwalk, which became known as the Heritage Triangle, was considered worthy of investment. Hence the Town Council’s £330K loan has achieved a further nearly £3M investment in Diss.

Full details of our budget can be found here

Councillor Vacancies

Would you like to make a difference in your community? Are you interested in taking on a new challenge? We now have three councillor vacancies and we’d love to hear from you.

Councillors get involved in a wide variety of activities as well as making strategic decisions on behalf of the community.  It is a voluntary role but there are many benefits to being a councillor, not least the opportunity to have your say and help to make Diss a better place.

For more information about our vacancies or to download an application form, click here. The deadline for applications is 14th March 2018.

Councillor vacancies

Diss Town Council is now looking for three new councillors.  If you’re interested in making a difference in your community, we’d love to hear from you!

Applicants must be over 18 and a citizen of the UK, EU or Commonwealth and live or work within 3 miles of Diss. No formal qualifications required, just a commitment to doing what’s best for the town. Please note: Town Councillors are volunteers. This is an unpaid position.

Download an application form here and return to us by 14th March 2018.

We’d like to extend our gratitude to Councillors Graham Minshull, David Traube and Mike Bardwell for the support and contributions they have made over many years service.

 

September 2017 Part 1 – Going round in Triangles

The Corn Hall so far had been a great success since its re-opening, but the other part of the Heritage Triangle project: the streetscape scheme and the Wildlife garden and boardwalk behind the council offices was reaching its conclusion in early September. An event was planned for 8th September, to coincide with the national heritage open days, to show off the area to the general public and to give them a chance to walk on water…

2nd September – Volunteering Time

The Heritage Triangle is a community project and the final touches – the planting of trees and bedding plants around the triangle needed volunteers to help with it. So I dusted off my gardening gloves and got stuck in on a bright Sunday morning.

A green-fingered volunteer helping with theHeritage Triangle Planting – Sunday 2nd September 2017

In truth I did get my hands dirty with a bit of planting, but mostly I helped by barrowing around compost and sweeping up afterwards. But the results were quite stunning.

5th September – Norfolk Scouts Council AGM – Dereham

Not the totally dry and boring meeting you might have assumed. There was a fascinating presentation from a group of scouts from Norfolk who who had been to the  15th World Scout Moot in Iceland from 25 July – 2 August 2017. The Moot brought  together up to 5000 young adults between the ages of 18 to 25, for what seemed a fantastic time.

8th September – Heritage Open Day

One of the best bits of August, when we were supposed to be having a bit of a break from Council duties was walking round the Heritage Triangle devising a set of questions for people to answer on a prize quiz. The quiz utilised the “toblerone” boards as source of the information to answer the quiz. The board outside the Corn Hall held the answer to question 11 :

The Corn Hall “toblerone” before it was demolished by a dozy driver (Happily now (November) replaced).

Unfortunately, someone reversed into it a week before the open day, so we had to devise a new question.

The day itself was a great success . We had coffee from COW (coffee on wheels!) a barbecue provided by Browns the Butchers and  roving buskers (including a strange chap in a hat reciting poetry.

Leo Wainwright “the busking bard” (or was that beard?)

And of course the boardwalk was open. Dinsdale came to see, but didn’t venture down for fear of getting his feet wet.

Dinsdale Duck pays a flying visit to the Triangle 8th September2017

The next week was spent handing our the prizes for the triangle trail, of which more elsewhere on the website :

(more…)

August 2017 – Loud shirts and a Purple Patch

A little quieter in August, but we did have some time away in Devon for my Mum’s 80th Birthday in

Loud Shirts

We got back just in time for the Big Sing at St Mary’s Church (on our wedding anniversary – is there a theme here?). Partly because of the time of year coinciding with two family birthdays and wedding anniversary we had never managed to get to the Big Sing before. The legendary Gerry Hoskin organised it, as he has done the previous 12  years, and compered the event in a lovely light hearted  double act with the Rector, Tony Billett. I use the term legendary advisedly because… well easier to demonstrate with this photo…

Gerry Hoskin at the Big Sing 6th August 2017, St Mary’s Church, Diss

It was a great time (as you may realise by now both Fiona and I like a good sing). Gerry’s shirt was loud, but the singing was louder. It was all in a good cause of course, and a collection was made for the Fire Service Benevolent Fund.

A Purple Patch

A charity event of a different kind took us to Scole on the following Sunday for Clare’s game. This was a really fun way to commemorate the life of a young lady called Clare Mackmin who tragically died as the result of an epileptic seizure whilst expecting her first child, who also sadly could not be saved. Her friends and family rallied round to make something positive of it, and hit on the idea of a charity football match between a team of friends (captained by Clare’s husband, Shaun, and a team from Glazing Vision, who are based in Sawmills Road.

This is a photo taken before the match:

Clares Team and the Glazing Vision Team, Scole Football Ground 13th August 2017

 The purple strip belongs to Clare’s team. This was her favourite colour, and the colour of the Epilepsy Society, for which the match raised funds. Clare’s team won 10-1 in a really enjoyable and light-hearted game. It was a humbling experience to see a group of people pulling together to make something so positive out of such a tragedy. There was a piece in the Diss Express at the time, and they have done some more fund-raising events since.

The last day of the month saw an invitation to Splice Creative – one of Diss’ hidden gems in the form of a media company in Mere Street that was having a party to celebrate its first birthday.

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor