New lease of life for Diss water tower

A REDUNDANT water tower could soon be given a new lease of life under proposals to convert the Victorian building into homes.

A REDUNDANT water tower could soon be given a new lease of life under proposals to convert the Victorian building into homes.

Applicant AWG Land Holdings Ltd is seeking consent to redevelop the former Anglian Water site at Louie's Lane, in Diss, for housing.

The water tower became redundant in 2003 when a modern alternative was built nearby.

Under the proposals, the red-brick structure will be transformed into two one-bedroom maisonettes. Other existing buildings will be demolished to make way for a new detached house fronting on to Louie's Lane, and four semi-detached properties at the rear of the plot which covers 0.184 hectares.

However, the developers may also have to make provision for existing "tenants" that are likely to need a new home.

An initial survey has indicated that bats - which are a protected species - are using the water tower.

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It may be necessary to put up bat boxes for the creatures on the outside of the tower, or even have a bat area at the top of the three-storey building where they can roost, if a breeding colony is discovered when further surveys are carried out in May to June this year.

Rebecca Flood, of Savills, the agents for the applicant, said in a report to South Norfolk Council that as a result of the survey, alterations to the building include "mitigation measures" based on a maternity roost being present. The aim is to ensure that the proposed development will not result in an adverse impact on any bats.

She was not available for comment yesterday.

The conversion of the water tower would result in four floors of accommodation divided between the two maisonettes. The facilities would include a living room, kitchen, hall, utility or cloakroom, study, bathroom and bedroom.

The new homes will be two-storey, all accessed by a private drive from Louie's Lane, which is a predominantly residential area.

South Norfolk Council is currently consulting on the proposals, and the mayor of Diss, Simon Olander, said they would be discussing the application next week.

The deadline for comments is March 31.

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