Extension to floating boardwalk vital for new Wetherspoons pub
PUBLISHED: 13:06 11 January 2019 | UPDATED: 13:24 11 January 2019
Wetherspoons has revealed how the small size of its new pub means that a planned extension to the floating boardwalk on Diss Mere is vital to the project.
The new two-storey pub and restaurant in a striking curved building on the water’s edge will begin to take shape some time around March when work begins on construction.
The £2.7m project, in Kings Head Yard, which had been scheduled for completion in 2018 but after delays it is now set to open before the end of 2019, includes plans to extend the existing 60m floating boardwalk on the Mere by a further 25m.
In negotiations with Diss Town Council over access to link the two parts of the boardwalk the pub chain said the size of the site, currently being used as a car park, meant that the waterside extension was a key factor in the pub’s viability.
Senior Wetherspoons manager Simon Barratt said: “It is incredibly expensive to develop a new-build pub in this location which has put Wetherspoons at the extremes of viability.
“The constraints of the site limit the size of the pub we can develop as ideally, we would prefer to build a larger site with a bigger customer area. Consequently every square foot matters and we consider that permitting an easement for this structure allows us to gain a slightly larger external area in return for Wetherspoons paying to extend the boardwalk.”
The pub chain said it would use the same contractor who built the existing boardwalk to complete the extension and was planning measures to stabilise the bank of the Mere.
Concerns about people drinking at the water’s edge were raised before Wetherspoons was granted planning permission for the pub in 2017.
However a report for South Norfolk Council stated: “Safety concerns about the proposed proximity of the tables to the boardwalk barrier, it is considered that the proposed arrangement does not present a significant safety issue that would justify refusal, it is also evident that there are various barriers proposed as part of the scheme.”
The designs for the new pub show a mezzanine level and balcony with windows offering views across the water and interior designs that reflect the linen weaving heritage of Diss.
The artist’s impressions show it called The King’s Head, the name of the previous watering hole near the site.