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Campaigners urge public to speak out over building on historic green space

PUBLISHED: 14:35 01 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:35 01 July 2019

Diss Lawns, also known as Parish Fields, could be developed into a complex of 24 retirement bungalows. Picture: Simon Parkin

Diss Lawns, also known as Parish Fields, could be developed into a complex of 24 retirement bungalows. Picture: Simon Parkin

Simon Parkin

A campaign group set up in the wake of proposals to build on a historic green space in Diss is urging people to speak out to save it during a public consultation.

Outline proposals would see 24 retirement bungalows built on just under half of Parish Fields in Diss. Picture: Scott Residential/Diss Town CouncilOutline proposals would see 24 retirement bungalows built on just under half of Parish Fields in Diss. Picture: Scott Residential/Diss Town Council

Scott Properties who are proposing building 24 retirement bungalows at Parish Fields, also known as The Lawn, between Shelfanger Road and Mount Street, are to ask the public their views during a consultation later this month.

The Parish Fields Friends group was formed locally to help preserve and protect the historic part of the town's green heritage for future generations.

Local resident David Whatley, speaking on behalf of Parish Fields Friends, says: "This is the beginning of the planning process for a large-scale development on Parish Fields - a beautiful and undeveloped meadowland in the heart of Diss.

1886 Ordnance Survey Map shows Parish Fields and the Lawn. Picture: Diss Town Council1886 Ordnance Survey Map shows Parish Fields and the Lawn. Picture: Diss Town Council

"Again and again attempts have been made to build on Parish Fields over the years, and again and again the people of Diss have come together to reject the destruction of what is an historically significant part of our green heritage, not to mention a valuable refuge for wildlife and a meadowland officially designated as an 'important open local space' in South Norfolk Council's Local Plan."

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Scott Properties first outlined its vision for the currently private and undeveloped land at packed meeting of Diss Town Council in January.

Diss Parish Fields, seen from Mount Street, could be developed into a complex of 24 retirement bungalows. Picture: Simon ParkinDiss Parish Fields, seen from Mount Street, could be developed into a complex of 24 retirement bungalows. Picture: Simon Parkin

Under the proposals they outlined 45pc of the site would be developed for retirement bungalows and their gardens, including the removal of some trees, while there would be pedestrian access linking Mount Street with Shelfanger Road.

The Essex-based developers said they were seeking advice from the district and town councils, as well as other stakeholders, before submitting a planning application. They also promised to hold an extensive public consultation to take on board local concerns.

The public consultation, taking place at the Diss Youth and Community Centre on Shelfanger Road, from 4pm-7.30pm on Monday, July 15, will be a chance for the public to see development proposals in detail and have their say.

Mr Whatley said it was likely to be the only opportunity for local residents to meet the developers in person before an official planning application is submitted, and to see what Parish Fields Friends are objecting to.

He said: "We passionately believe Parish Fields should be preserved and celebrated as a vibrant green space for future generations in Diss and I urge everyone to express their views."

Anyone who cannot make it to the event can see more about the proposals at www.diss.mscott.co.uk between 8pm on July 15 to 8pm on July 29.

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