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Fears that Morrisons expansion would harm town centre

PUBLISHED: 14:39 17 December 2017 | UPDATED: 14:39 17 December 2017

Morrisons in Diss has filed planning permission to build four retail units, a retail popcar washing station and a tyre service area in its car park. Picture: Marc Betts

Morrisons in Diss has filed planning permission to build four retail units, a retail popcar washing station and a tyre service area in its car park. Picture: Marc Betts

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Plans to build on a supermarket car park in Diss have come under fire amid claims it would be detrimental to the town centre.

Morrisons in Diss has filed planning permission to build four retail units, a retail popcar washing station and a tyre service area in its car park. Picture: Marc BettsMorrisons in Diss has filed planning permission to build four retail units, a retail popcar washing station and a tyre service area in its car park. Picture: Marc Betts

Diss Town Council has objected to plans to build four retail units, a car wash area, tyre service area and small retail pod on the Morrisons car park, on Victoria Road, amid fears it would take people out of the town centre.

The council, as well as the Heritage Triangle Trust and residents, has lodged its concerns at the plans.

In a letter posted on the planning application on the South Norfolk Council website, Diss Town Council recommends refusal of the plans, citing the retail impact the new units would have amongst increased traffic and poor design.

In the letter the council says: “This proposal could have a detrimental impact on the Heritage Triangle, a recent multi-million pound investment in the town centre and the proposed additional retail units have not been justified.

“The applicant has provided no evidence of a retail impact assessment which is considered essential for this proposal.

“Diss Town Council considers the proposed retail units will be detrimental to the town centre economy, that the design quality is poor, that the tyre and car wash service areas will negatively impact on the access to the riverside walk.”

The Diss Heritage Triangle Trust has also objected to the plans.

In a further letter posted it highlights the lack of “treatment” in the design on the units and the possibility of pollution from the car wash.

Diss Town Council and the Heritage Triangle Trust both highlight the need for the car park to keep its current number of parking spaces.

The store’s car park currently has 537 spaces, including disabled and family spaces, and 12 trolley bays. If the plans go a head this will be reduced by 62.

The Heritage Triangle Trust said; “Eliminating 62 parking spaces would be a major loss of function and amenity.”

There are also fears that increasing the amount of retail outlets on the site, more traffic would come to the area.

The plans will be discussed at the council’s next development management committee meeting on January 3.

What do people on the high street think?

Townsfolk of Diss have mixed views on the building of new units on the Morrisons car park.

Mary Maidment, 62, has lived in Diss her whole life. She thinks access to the shops will be an issue.

She said: “There is already bad access to the store with the roundabout so it would have to be a master plan to sort it.

“People will still come into the town centre for the Heritage Triangle. It is a thing in itself. Although it is still relatively new, it needs to prove it has been worth it.”

Kayleigh Francis works in a store on the high street. She said: “It’s like Morrisons is making its own high street.

“You will be able to get everything there so people won’t need to come into the town centre so the smaller shops will suffer but it would be great for shoppers.”

Paul Hunt, 55, said: “It all depends what sort of shops are put there and whether they will be able to enhance the town.”

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