A developer is locked in a battle to build dozens of homes on the edge of a south Norfolk market town after the local council rejected the bid. 

Land Allocation Ltd - a real estate company – wants to build 80 homes on land north of Walcot Rise in Diss. 

However, the bid was refused by South Norfolk Council (SNC) in April 2022, which argued the plans would cause “significant harm” to a rural area and eat into the gap between the town and Walcot Green, a neighbouring hamlet. 

The application never went before councillors and was decided by SNC’s planning officials. 

Diss Mercury: Land next to Walcot Rise PICTURE: GoogleLand next to Walcot Rise PICTURE: Google (Image: Google)

The plans also saw massive local opposition ahead of SNC’s decision, with one local branding it “madness” due to its location next to a nursing home and school. 

Now, Land Allocation has appealed to the government's Planning Inspectorate to overturn the verdict. 

The organisation is able to overrule councils if it believes their decisions contradict laws. 

In a statement to the inspectors, representatives for Land Allocation argued the council should have approved the plans because it would provide “overriding benefits” for the area. 

“The site is free of environmental constraints that would preclude delivery,” they said. 

“It is available to deliver now and would result in a form and location of development that is generally considered to be compatible with the character and historic expansion of the village.”

SNC’s rejection of the scheme argued that approving the scheme would “result in significant harm to the rural character of the landscape and the visual appearance of the area” and lead to the loss of the gap between Diss and Walcot Green. 

They also argued the scheme failed to demonstrate economic, social or environmental benefits that would outweigh the harm caused. 

The appeal will be decided by inspectors in due course. 

'A suffocated town'

Before SNC rejected the original application, dozens of Diss residents wrote in to express their objections to the scheme.

And concerns continue to be raised over the appeal, with seven neighbour writing to the inspector calling for the rejection to be maintained.

One neighbour said: “The road infrastructure, particularly in and around the proposed housing has not been improved. Increases in traffic will only make the situation worse.” 

Another said: “In the past 20 years Diss has had many of these smaller developments which have crept in and are suffocating our little town.” 

It is not just locals who have sided with SNC in their rejection of the scheme, with Norfolk County Council’s Highways department setting out its support to the Planning Inspectorate. 

The Highways team said the development does not provide sufficient access for pedestrians to get to existing local services and the road to the site is “considered to be inadequate” because it is not large enough.