Diss seeks homes with 'wow factor'

Town leaders have called for a developer to bring the 'wow factor' to a prominent brownfield site in Diss after a new housing scheme was rejected by district councillors.

CIVIC leaders have called for a developer to bring the "wow factor" to a prominent brownfield site in Diss after a homes scheme was rejected by councillors.

Proposals to turn the former Bartrum's haulage depot site in Victoria Road into 56 houses and flats had been recommended for approval by South Norfolk Council planning officers.

But the Persimmon Homes scheme suffered a setback on Tuesday after a planning committee of the council voted to refuse the application on design and traffic grounds.

The proposals for a mixture of one, two and three-bedroom homes and apartments on the two-acre gateway site had prompted objections from Diss Town Council, and mayor Simon Olander welcomed the decision. He added that the town did not need more "dovecote" apartments, and he hoped that the developer would go back to the drawing board.

"The town council has no issue with Persimmon, and we welcome housing on that site, but we are concerned with the type of housing," he added.

"Diss needs more houses, but not necessarily more flats."

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"We just want to see something with the wow factor. This is the main thoroughfare through Diss and is the first thing you see in the town, and we don't want to see a bog-standard housing estate.

"We want something bespoke and not something you see everywhere else," he said.

District councillors agreed with the town council's concerns that the proposed 1.4 car parking spaces per home would not be enough.

Beverley Spratt, chairman of South Norfolk's south-west area planning committee, said that members were also unhappy with the design of the two and three-storey apartments and the proposed entrance and exit into Rose Lane.

Four members voted against the application and two abstained, which means that the scheme will be referred to the council's main planning committee meeting next Wednesday.

South Norfolk Council officers had thought the proposals were acceptable and would have enhanced the appearance and character of the area.

Previous Persimmon Homes plans for 73 flats at the former depot were refused in January last year.

Martin Davidson, land director for Persimmon Homes Anglia, said later: "Naturally we are disappointed that our application for the development

of our site in Diss has been recommended for rejection as our plans had evolved after several meetings with the council's own planning department and architect, producing a scheme we feel was sympathetic and in harmony with the surrounding area."