Public consultation on the future of a South Norfolk market town reveals what matters most to residents

Diss Mere and town sign. Photo: Denise Bradley

Diss Mere and town sign. Photo: Denise Bradley - Credit: ©Archant Photographic 2010

The results of the first public consultation on an ambitious cross county neighbourhood plan have revealed the overwhelming majority of residents agree with the plan's vision for the future of their area.

More than 85pc of the 830 people who responded to a questionnaire asking for their opinion on the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan said they agreed with the plan's vision for a 'vibrant community centred around a thriving market town'.

The plan, which aims to create a blueprint for how Diss and seven of its surrounding villages will develop over the coming years is unique in that it will operate across two different counties.

Now, following the first of many public consultations, which set out an initial vision as well as nine further themes covering everything from shopping to digital connectivity, getting about and sustaining local identities, 85pc of people said they agreed the plan's vision, with just 2pc disagreeing and 11pc reporting no opinion.

Of the nine themes set out in the plan, the most important to residents was the theme of Community, Leisure and Wellbeing, with 93pc of people agreeing with the theme which aims to ensure residents have access to adequate education, health care and sports facilities. The second most popular issue was 'getting about' which aims to tackle congestion on the A1066 and improve general transport links in the area.

In its summary of the results the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan steering group wrote: 'The outcomes confirm the initial assessments of the issues raised.

'The steering group now has the confidence and weight of public opinion when working with the organisations and authorities that are essential to take development of the plan forward.'

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Mike Bootman, chairman of the steering group added: 'We are very pleased and grateful to everyone who did respond and it's gratifying to know that we read the runes correctly in most areas.

'Now we have a clear idea about things we can start to gather evidence.'

Mr Bootman added that the steering group were always looking for people to have their say on the plan and become involved in its development, to do so, visit