Frenze Hall Lane
The saga of the proposal for 136 new houses on land north of Frenze Hall Lane rumbles on. Whilst I welcome Persimmon’s engagement with residents and Diss Town Council, this scheme misses a much-needed opportunity.
Under the Self-Build and Custom Housebuilding Act 2015, each local authority must now keep a register of individuals and groups seeking to acquire serviced plots of land for “self-build” (where you do all the work yourself) – or more likely “custom housebuilding” where people get someone else to build a house to their own design. Further changes to the law mean that councils will have to grant enough planning permissions to meet the demand shown on the register for self-build and custom housebuilding plots.
Persimmon and other developers should include some serviced plots in each development, for people who want to design and build their own homes. I have asked planners to look again at this.
Rail Boost for Region
You will have seen that Abellio Greater Anglia won the contest to run the new East Anglia rail franchise until 2025, starting next month.
Travellers from Diss Station should benefit from this welcome, if overdue, investment. According to Abellio, the new franchise will deliver major improvements to rail services in the region: replacing the train fleet by the end of 2020, more seats on London-bound trains and a £60 million investment in stations. Trains will be more comfortable and there will be over 1,000 new services operating in our region.
The devil is in the detail and, understandably, many commuters will only believe it when they see it, but this announcement is a very good start.
There are more developments in the campaign to upgrade the notorious junction of Vinces Road and Victoria Road in Diss.
Norfolk County Council has designed a scheme to ease congestion at the junction but currently the only hope of funding the scheme is to applying to central government for funding.
In 2014, I worked with local businesses, councils, and the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership on an application to a government fund known as ‘Growth Deal 2’. Although that bid was unsuccessful, the government recently opened bidding for ‘Growth Deal 3’ and Norfolk County Council has included the Vinces Road scheme in its bid for funding.
I can’t promise this new bid will be successful but I will keep fighting until the junction is improved.