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Heritage body objects to planned Diss Mere apartments

PUBLISHED: 16:28 05 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:35 05 February 2019

Artist impression of planned new apartments in Diss as they would look from the Heritage Wildlife Gardens. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk Council

Artist impression of planned new apartments in Diss as they would look from the Heritage Wildlife Gardens. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk Council

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Fears that the ‘slab’ of planned modern apartments overlooking Diss Mere will tower over an award-winning community garden have seen the town council and a heritage watchdog object.

Diss Heritage Triangle Trust say planned new apartments would tower over the award-winning community wildlife garden. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss Heritage Triangle Trust say planned new apartments would tower over the award-winning community wildlife garden. Picture: Simon Parkin

Plans have been submitted to South Norfolk Council to build two four-bed apartments and one three-bed apartment on land that is currently a courtyard at the rear of properties in St Nicholas Street and next to the historic Tudor House building.

Under the proposals an existing garage and two store buildings would be demolished to make way for “modern contemporary” apartments at the top of the plot of sloping grassland leading down to the Mere next to the recently opened Mere wildlife garden and floating boardwalk.

Planned new apartments that would overlook Diss Mere have been to a compared to looking like a Swiss ski lodge. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk CouncilPlanned new apartments that would overlook Diss Mere have been to a compared to looking like a Swiss ski lodge. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk Council

The plans have met with strong opposition from nearby businesses and residents with objectors describing them as looking like a “monolithic lump” while during discussions one town council described the design as like a “Swiss family Robinson-style ski lodge, surrounded by Diss”.

Diss Town Council has recommended that district planners refuse the development arguing the scale of the proposed buildings is too large, the modern design not in keeping with the historic conservation area and that the building would impact on new wildlife gardens leading to the Mere boardwalk.

Artist impression of planned new apartments that would overlook Diss Mere. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk CouncilArtist impression of planned new apartments that would overlook Diss Mere. Picture: KD Architects/South Norfolk Council

Town Clerk Sarah Richards said: “The dwellings would come right up to the boundary fence with the Heritage Wildlife Gardens completely overlooking and overshadowing them. The wildlife gardens are an essential part of the regeneration of the Heritage Triangle and the proposed development would detract from visitor enjoyment and spoil views of the Mere and the boardwalk.”

Diss Heritage Triangle Trust, set up in 2016 to oversee £3 million regeneration project of which a key element was the boardwalk and wildlife garden, has also objected.

Diss Town Council has also objected to planned new apartments saying they would impact on the wildlife garden and the floating Mere boardwalk. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss Town Council has also objected to planned new apartments saying they would impact on the wildlife garden and the floating Mere boardwalk. Picture: Simon Parkin

Trustee David Down said: “When viewed from the wildlife garden, the eastern ‘slab’ of the building will tower over the existing upper and lower viewing decks of the wildlife garden and will significantly reduce natural sunlight reaching the viewing desks and upper part of the garden – which are mown grass areas are located that currently allow families to sit on the grass and enjoy the views.”

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