Developer rejects Diss relief road plea

PUBLISHED: 17:11 12 August 2010 | UPDATED: 09:20 16 September 2010

Adam Gretton

Hopes of relieving traffic congestion on the main route through Diss have received a hammer blow after a national house builder rejected calls for the creation of a new link road.

Hopes of relieving traffic congestion on the main route through Diss have received a hammer blow after a national house builder rejected calls for the creation of a new link road.

Town leaders and businesses have been campaigning for the opening of the other end of a notorious cul-de-sac for five years in a bid to improve traffic flow on the A1066 Victoria Road and boost the local economy.

But the possibility of a new access road off Vinces Road looked more remote last night after developer Persimmon Homes ruled out changes to its plans for 120 houses and flats on greenfield land off Frenze Hall Lane, which already has outline planning permission.

If detailed plans are approved at a future South Norfolk Council planning committee, the scheme would block a potential link road opening the north of the Vinces Road industrial estate to vehicles.

In a letter to Diss Town Council, the agent for the house builder said the creation of an access point would result in the reduction of 20 homes from its project and a link road between Vinces Road and Frenze Hall Lane was not supported by county council highways officials. The developer has also rejected a plea by the town council and local residents to remove plans for an access road through Sycamore Way.

The news comes after South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon met with businesspeople last month to witness the traffic chaos at the junction of Victoria Road and Vinces Road.

Local companies say that it can take up to 30 minutes for staff to leave the industrial estate during the evening rush hour, which makes the area less attractive for new businesses. There are currently more than 20 empty business units off Vinces Road.

Simon Olander, town councillor and former Diss mayor, said Persimmon's decision was “dire” news for the town.

“I thought they were going to do the right thing, but they are just carrying on regardless. We understand that they have to get bang for their buck, but this leaves Diss high and dry in the future. It is very frustrating,” he said.

Andrew Thurston, managing director of Lyndale Compact Furniture, in Vinces Road, said the current traffic situation was “ludicrous” and companies were struggling to attract new staff because of the congestion problems.

“If someone does not do something rapidly, the Vinces Road industrial estate will not exist. It is absolutely frustrating. A lot of companies do not want to be on Vinces Road and there are an awful lot of empty units.”

“The only solution is to put another exit from Vinces Road and the moment planning permission is granted [to Persimmon], it rules it out,” he said.

Agent Rob Snowling, principal planner for Bidwells, said the access arrangements for the Persimmon development had already been established by outline consent, which has been through two public inquiries. He added that the developer was happy to divert some of its Section 106 monies to improve the junction of Victoria Road and Vinces Road.

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