New hope for Diss waterside

PUBLISHED: 14:20 22 January 2009 | UPDATED: 10:51 12 July 2010

An artist's impression.

An artist's impression.

This is an illustration of a contemporary-design new waterside restaurant that has been proposed for a key location overlooking Diss Mere.

This is an illustration of a contemporary-design new waterside restaurant that has been proposed for a key location overlooking Diss Mere.

Applicant Tacolneston Estate Ltd first unveiled plans for redeveloping the King's Head Yard car park back in 2007.

As well as a single-storey restaurant, fronting onto the lake, the scheme originally included a separate three-storey building comprising two ground floor shop units with studio flats above.

This element has now been deleted following concerns raised by South Norfolk Council's planning department, conservation officer and design architect.

The car park is regarded as a “key site” within the historic core of the town and conservation area, and the three-storey building to be of inappropriate scale and form.

The revised plans - which have been recommended for approval - are for a single-storey restaurant only built on a raft foundation that will have limited impact on the underlying archaeological remains at the site. There will be a terraced area beside the lake with provision for a Mere-side walkway to the perimeter.

A number of sustainable features have been incorporated into the design, including a 'green' sedum roof, ground water energy source, and self-draining block paving. Storm water will also be channelled to the edge of the Mere into an infiltration system.

It will be necessary to remove a group of mature acacia and willows from the Mere's edge, large conifers adjacent to Hale's Yard, and some smaller trees within the site. However, the district council's landscape officer does not consider any of these trees to be especially good specimens, and a replacement planting scheme has been submitted.

The town council supports the application, and says the development will replace a rather derelict and unsightly car park with a building of high quality design, that is very appropriate for the 21st century. It will also help counteract the current drift southwards of the centre of gravity of the town centre.

There have also been five letters of objection from local residents, some criticising the modern-design and potential loss of parking spaces, and one letter of support.

The scheme will go before South Norfolk's south-west area planning committee on Tuesday.

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