The appeal by Marstons against the refusal of planning permission for the development of erection of 4 non-food retails units of nearly 4000sqm on Park Road, Diss has been dismissed.

In its written submission to the appeal, Diss Town Council opposed the development because of concerns that the proposed design would significantly detract from the conservation area and represented a missed opportunity to ‘raise the design standard’.

There was also concern that the proposed floor area would be an ‘economically unsustainable overdevelopment’ that would not generate town centre footfall, rather it would congest the town with further traffic. The retail study on which the proposed additional retail floor space that Diss could accommodate was carried out in 2007 prior to the economic downturn and town centre investment. The Town Council therefore argued that a retail impact assessment was required to understand the effect of a development of this size and scale on the town centre economy.

In her decision notice, Planning Inspector Amanda Blicq noted that the development ‘would detract from, and fail to preserve or enhance the Conservation Area or its setting’, fail to safeguard protected trees, and it has not been demonstrated that the development would not have a detrimental effect on the vitality and viability of the existing businesses within the town’.

Council Leader Graham Minshull said ‘The Town Council is pleased there will now be an opportunity to achieve a high-quality development on this site which will add real value to the town. We support development which will improve the quality of life for our community. We were concerned this development would not achieve this with its proposed large warehouse-style sheds representing a poor-quality design on our main transport route, further congesting traffic and swamping the already fragile town centre economy.’

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