Plans for retail units in town centre Morrisons car park could get go ahead

Morrisons in Diss has filed planning permission to build four retail units, a retail popcar washing

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 - Credit: Archant

A controversial plan for retail units to be built in the car park of a town centre supermarket could get the go ahead tomorrow.

Morrisons on Victoria Road in Diss

Morrisons on Victoria Road in Diss - Credit: Rebecca Murphy

Morrisons in Diss has proposed to build four small shops on its site on Victoria Road, near the historic market centre, which has drawn some objection from the council and community.

One of the main concerns is that by inviting new retail to the south of the town it would detract from the hard work put in to the £3.4m Heritage Triangle project and economically damage independent traders.

An objection letter submitted to South Norfolk planners from the Diss Heritage Triangle Trust said: 'The proposal will undermine the future economic and social sustainability of the traditional and historic town centre.

'Such development will inevitably cause decline and decay of the historic trading centre of Diss.'

The proposal by Morrisons asks to erect four mixed-use retail units, a car wash area, tyre service area and small retail pod within its existing car park.

This would reduce the parking spaces for the supermarket from 529 to 475 and has caused further concern over parking provisions for the town as a whole on peak days such as market day.

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A 2015 survey conducted on nearby Mere Street said Morrisons was the most popular place to park and the town council expressed concern that 'the loss of car parking spaces will impact on this mutually beneficial co-relationship between the supermarket retailer and Diss town centre.'

However, a Norfolk County Council Highways assessment, also submitted to the planning committee, suggested the nearby Tesco car park could easily compensate for the loss of spaces in Morrisons during peak times.

Another significant concern about the proposal is the design of the retail units which will be in 'retrograde', meaning the rear of the units would back on to Victoria Road.

The letter from the Diss Heritage Triangle Trust warns 'there will be a temptation for delivering vehicles to use the car park for easier off-loading' and thus increase congestion in the area.

The proposal will be considered by the development management committee meeting at South Norfolk Council tomorrow (Wednesday March 28).