A week in the life…

So far so good. After the excitement of the carnival (see below for the punchline) I had a busy week which included a happy hour (not that sort of Happy Hour) having tea with the residents of De Lucy House as part of National Care Homes open Day.

That was Friday (also my birthday – well I did get cake). On Sunday the  Mayoress and I attended our second civic service in Felixstowe in a packed St John’s Church, with other members of the Suffolk “chain gang” (of which I am an honorary member).

Back to the grind, with two meetings on the following Wednesday, including the Town Council where we started the process of co-opting a new councillor. This is to replace Joe Aiken, who after a pretty full on couple of years chairing our Community Engagement Committee, and working like a trojan on projects like the carnival, christmas lights Diss Fest, had to let something go so that he could focus on his paid job (and his other unpaid job of father to three young children). If you want to find out how you could be a town councillor, and what is involved contact the town council, one of your councillors, or just pop along to the Corn Hall on a Wednesday evening for a committee or council meeting, and ask an awkward question.

Watching the Pure Floyd Show at the Corn Hall tonight (Saturday). (You can tell my age by the fact I am going to see a Pink Floyd tribute band, and the reference to Sgt Pepper in the title of this blog). Sunday morning I will be in the Park kicking off the proceedings at the Cyclathon. Next Mayor moments blog will be next Friday.

Oh. The punchline! People ask me whether I get any special treatment as Mayor. Not really, except once. Morrisons kindly provided free parking all day on the day of the carnival. Alone of those who used that facility, it seems, I got a parking ticket a few days later! A technical glitch which has now been rescinded,  and entirely unconnected with the fact I work at Tesco.

Trevor Wenman

Town Mayor

Carnival Time – A Mayor Moment

When Pope Francis was first introduced on the balcony at St Peter’s he declined the little red cape traditionally worn on such occasions saying to the attending cardinal “Carnival time is over, Monsignor, you wear it”.

Well Carnival time it was at in Diss last Sunday – my first big event as Mayor and did I wear that cape? – you bet I did. However, I was nicely inconspicuous amongst dancers, the wonderful floats, the stilt walkers, horses, donkeys (I think I saw a reindeer somewhere) and of course Dinsdale the Duck, so you could be excused for missing me.

I have never seen as many people in Diss at the same time. Well done to the Carnival Committee for producing such a brilliant day.
Dinsdale was all in a flap in case no-one turned up, but when he saw the size of the crowd he decided to wing it. Totally unflappable.

(editor’s note – all puns used in this blog are the author’s own, and should not be taken as reflecting the sense of humour of Diss Town Council).

Post Office Meeting

Over 100 people turned out to the public meeting tonight to discuss the future of the Post Office, organised by Brigitte Butcher.

A vote in favour of the Post Office staying where it is was unanimous. A number of people offered to work with Brigitte to keep fighting to save the Diss Crown Post Office. The Town Council and Richard Bacon will continue to support the campaign and look for an innovative solution.


Don’t Miss Diss’ Party of the Year!

Since its revival in 2008, Diss Carnival has gone from strength to strength – it’s the annual party that the whole town get involved in. Residents and visitors alike line the streets of Diss to watch the traditional procession through the town then join in the entertainment at the Fun Day.

This year, the Carnival is set to be bigger and better than ever before, celebrating Carnival Through the Ages. Taking place right in the heart of Diss, in the Park, we’ve got plenty of fun in store. Expect the unexpected, from Vikings to Vintage Vehicles – and everything in between. Meander around the iconic Mere and enjoy the stalls and activities, or join us ringside for some fantastic entertainment!

Not only are we in a brand new location, but we’ve got some new activities to keep the whole family entertained. This year, we’re proud to present our very own It’s A Knockout Games. We’ve got five inflatable challenges for the teams to complete in, from Sumo Suits to a Bucking Pig, as well as games in the arena.

The Procession kicks off from the High School at 12.45pm, finishing at the Park. The Fun Day will run from 1pm – 5.30pm. We’ve been generously supported by businesses across Diss to make this years’ Carnival a FREE event, so come on down to Diss on Sunday 11th June and celebrate all things Carnival! With so much taking place throughout the day, make sure to pick up a copy of the Diss Carnival 2017 programme (available from 20th May) so you don’t miss a thing! Available for just £1 at retailers throughout Diss and at the Town Council offices.

For more information or to get involved, visit www.diss-carnival.co.uk or contact us via Facebook or twitter @disscarnival

Heritage Triangle Streetscape: FAQ

One of the New Hampshire Grants, Middlebury was chartered by Colonial Governor Benning Wentworth on November 2, 1761. The name “Middlebury” came from its location between the towns of Salisbury and New Haven. It was awarded to John Evarts and 62 others.

Update to the Heritage Triangle Street Regeneration

As you are probably aware, the street regeneration scheme in the Heritage Triangle is on the way! We are working with the Heritage Triangle Project and Norfolk County Council to make sure the works cause as little disruption to residents and businesses as possible.

Business will be open as usual and access to the town centre will always be possible. There will however be alternative routes to exit the town. Car Parks will all be open as usual.

For all enquiries, please contact Paul Groom on 0344 800 8020.

The Heritage Triangle Team have created a handy set of Frequently asked questions you can view here.

Click here to view the information letter from Norfolk County Council

Below are more detailed plans of the road closures during the works:

MLPP/27368/CC/05 St Nicholas Street, Market Hill, Market Place – Road Closure Diversion refers to the full road closure.

Route MLPP/27468/CC/03 Markert Hill – Diversion Route Layout shows phase one of the road closures.

MLPP/27368/CC/01 St Nicholas Street – Diversion Route Layout Shows phase two of the road closures.

Completing the Heritage Triangle Scheme

As a key partner in the Heritage Triangle Project, Diss Town Council borrowed £200,000 in 2015 as its contribution towards the £3.2m Project.  One of the risks identified was that the Project costs may over-run (as is often the case with such historic and therefore complex buildings) so the option to borrow further money was retained.

The Town Council also agreed to underwrite the Project to the value of £130,000 to cover what was at that time, a funding shortfall, in order to get permission to start from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). The Project team managed to fundraise far more than their goals, but despite their best efforts, the Project has over-run its original budget and a bid for an additional £235,000 has been submitted to the HLF to help get this Project completed.

If the bid is successful, this extra money will be subject to the Town Council honouring its original commitment of £130,000 which means we must take out a further loan to this value. However, the loan repayments would be offset by savings we have made elsewhere in the budget, meaning it will not impact on residents.

We have worked very hard not to raise our share of Council Tax over the last few years. Unfortunately, largely due to considerable reductions in government grants, Diss Town Council has had to increase its share of Council Tax by £14 for the 2017/18 financial year.  We will keep striving for cost savings in what we do, whilst maintaining and improving our services, so that you receive quality and value for money.

As always we encourage you to get in touch to tell us what you think – visit our website at www.diss.gov.uk, email towncouncil@diss.gov.uk or call 01379 643848, 9.30am – 3pm, Mon – Fri.

Heritage Triangle Project: Street Regeneration Scheme

Important information for businesses and residents.

Have a look at the latest plans for the regeneration of the streetscape in the Heritage Triangle. The plans include the proposed road closures during the waorks. Works are due to start around the 17th April, and will take three months.

The proposed works involve the resurfacing of the existing footways and carriageway with new surface materials.  New raised tables are to be installed to help encourage pedestrian movement, while also maintaining vehicle movement in the area.  The existing carriageway parking bays on Market Hill will be removed as part of the proposal to widen the existing footway.

The Regeneration scheme is currently programmed to begin on, or shortly after, the 17th April 2017 lasting approximately 3 months. As shown on PJ3331-0100-013 Road Closure Notification Plan (see attached), the construction will entail four phases of road closures. These phases are just for reference and the order of works are to be confirmed.

During the road closure, the one-way system will be temporarily revoked. Local access and deliveries will be maintained. Business open as usual signs will be displayed within the area. We will endeavour to keep any potential disruption to a minimum and apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Once we have more information, the intention is to send you another notification letter in early March. I trust the above information is useful, however, should you wish to discuss the matter further please do not hesitate to contact me on 01603 223073.

Download the full letter here.

Download the consultation plan.

Download the proposed road closure plan here.

Community Defibrillators

This month our Council Leader and Deputy Town Clerk were proud to support the Rotary Club of Diss & District at the launch of their third 24 hour public access defibrillator at Jewsons Ltd on Victoria Road.  Diss now has a total of 8 defibrillators, 3 of which are 24 hour public access.  You can view a map of their locations here.

We are keen to raise awareness of how easy it is for anyone to use this life saving equipment.  Our staff enjoyed a fascinating First Aid training session and we plan to roll out this training to all staff & councillors in the New Year – what better way to support the community of Diss than by saving a life.

If you are keen to learn more about these defibrillators and how they work in an emergency, the Rotary Club of Diss & District and The Community Heartbeat Trust are holding their first Community Awareness Seminar on 24 January 2017 at the Methodist Church in Diss. Please contact Ken Chapman at kchapman717@gmail.com to book. You can also find out more about them with this handy FAQ on the Community Heartbeat Website.