Diss (including part of Roydon)


Diss is identified as a Main Town under policy 7.2. The town has a strong local employment base and supports three main supermarkets, a wide range of local shops and services in the town centre, and a full range of facilities (including secondary school, GPs, leisure centre, library, a variety of sports clubs etc.).


The estimated population of Diss Town Council Area at mid-2019 was 8,604 people.  However, parts of the settlement of Diss, i.e. the continuous built up area of the town, fall within Roydon Parish and several of the 2,595 estimated population in Roydon Parish will be within this built-up area, making the town closer to 10,000 people.  Sites have been allocated in the 2003 and 2015 South Norfolk Local Plans which have maintained the growth of the town over recent years.

Homes in Diss:

Homes at 2020 (ONS)

Completed units April 2018 to March 2020

Local Plan Allocations remaining at 1 April 2020

Other Planning Permissions at 1 April 2020

New Allocations

4,243 (Diss Town Council area only)


122 (Including mixed-use allocations)


150 – GNLP

250 – Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan


Diss is located to the north west of the junction of the A140 and A143 and is on the main Norwich-Ipswich-London rail line, meaning that the town in less than 20 minutes from Norwich and Stowmarket and approximately 90-100 minutes from London.  There is also a small bus station just outside of the town centre, with services linking to Norwich, Bury St Edmunds and other local towns and villages.  These good transport connections, including to a range of key regional settlements, makes Diss a sustainable location for new housing, particularly on sites with good access to these transport links.


In addition to having a good range of shops and facilities in the town centre, many of which are within the pedestrianised area, there is a concentration of commercial and industrial businesses to the east of the town (located either side of the railway), home to a wider range of employers, with further land allocated for expansion.  Further afield, approximately three miles from the town, adjacent to the A140 near Eye, is the Mid Suffolk Business Park which also offers significant employment opportunities.


There are particular vehicular pressures on the A1066 Victoria Road and B1077 Denmark Street as they pass through the town, with congestion considered a barrier to more significant growth.


There is an attractive historic town centre within an extensive conservation area, that extends to Sunnyside at the north and Park Road to the south. The historic core of Diss is formed by the Market Place, Market Hill, and St Nicholas Street and the town includes an exceptional concentration of listed buildings. A number of open spaces are located within the heart of the town, including The Mere and adjacent park, as well as private open land that contributes significantly to the character and which are protected as Important Local Open Spaces under the 2015 Local Plan.


In terms of the environmental and landscape considerations, the River Waveney is to the south and the Frenze Valley landscape lies to the east and southeast; meaning the town is surrounded by River Valley landscape, which also includes several County Wildlife Sites.  The River Waveney marks the administrative boundary with Mid-Suffolk and Suffolk County Council.


With the exception of one site, decisions on the allocation or reallocation of development land in Diss are devolved to the neighbourhood planning process. The proposed Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan is a cross boundary plan covering parishes located within both the South Norfolk and Mid-Suffolk districts. The parishes included in the production of the Neighbourhood Plan are: Brome and Oakley, Burston and Shimpling, Diss, Palgrave, Roydon, Scole and Stuston. Progress on the neighbourhood plan is good. During Summer 2020 an Issues and Options consultation took place, and in 2021 the Plan is timetabled to progress towards examination, referendum, and (if successful) to eventually be ‘made’ and become part of the adopted Development Plan.


The one allocation to be made in Diss via the GNLP is the Frontier Agriculture site on Sandy Lane. This is an established business that has expressed its long-term ambition to relocate, most likely towards the end of the plan period. The brownfield status of the land along with its proximity to the town centre, railway station, and local bus routes, makes it an exceptional opportunity for higher density brownfield redevelopment. Such brownfield sites are prioritised in national planning policy to make effective use of land, particularly where they are well located in relation to public transport and within walking and cycling distance of a good range of employment, services and facilities.


In addition to existing commitments, a housing requirement of at least 400 new homes is set by the GNLP for the town of Diss, part of which is fulfilled by the allocation of Frontier Agriculture for 150 homes. The Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan will have to fulfil the remaining overall housing requirement, but otherwise has freedom within the statutory framework to makes its own choices. In addition to the strategic requirement for 400 new homes, there are three carried forward allocations providing for 122 new homes, 137 homes were delivered April 2018 to March 2020 and a total of 95 additional dwellings with planning permission.2 This gives a total deliverable housing commitment for Diss (including part of Roydon) of 754 homes between 2018-2038.

Settlement Map

Diss Settlement Map



2For the purposes of calculating housing commitment it is assumed existing allocations from the South Norfolk Site Allocations DPD 2015 will be carried forward, but this is a matter for the Neighbourhood Plan to decide upon.