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The Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group


Most neighbourhood plans focus on a single parish, and the steering group usually comprises individuals from the local Parish Council plus volunteers from the wider community. 


The Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan is different in that it covers an area that comprises seven parishes, over two local authority areas. The steering group needs to be representative of this mix, and we therefore have representatives from each area, and the group is chaired by an independent District Councillor. Whilst not a part of the Diss Town Council, the steering group benefits from a good working relationship with the Town Clerk Sarah Richards and her team. 


We also benefit from the input of a working group - comprising volunteers tasked with researching and gathering evidence to support the development of policies, plus a  part time project officer and a planning consultancy experienced in developing Neighbourhood Plans.

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Chair - David Burn

I have lived in Yaxley, just outside the DDNP area, for 30 years, during which I have mainly used Diss for supplies and services, so I know it and its environs well. Almost 10 years ago I was elected to Mid Suffolk District Council where I am now cabinet member for planning. In my capacity as ward member for the Suffolk parishes participating in the DDNP I have been attending meetings of the Steering Group as an observer since it was first formed. Its members asked me to chair the meetings when the position became vacant in September 2018.

If you'd like to find out more about the Diss & District Neighbourhood Plan, you are welcome to email me on , or your can email Stephanie, the project officer, on 

We have representatives from across the South Norfolk and Mid-Suffolk Local Authority areas.
All can be contacted via the address, or through their local Parish Council. 

South Norfolk parish representatives

Diss Town Council

Richard Peaty

Richard Peaty

I lived in Bacton, Suffolk, for 32 years. During this time I was a very frequent visitor to Diss. When we decided to downsize, my wife and I chose to move to Diss to enjoy its facilities, which set it apart from other neighbouring towns. 


I have always been willing to contribute towards my local community. I was a parent governor at Bacton Community Middle School, a trustee of the Friends of St Mary's church in Bacton, and parish councillor of Bacton Parish Council, where I served as chairman from 2015  to 2020.


Previously a secondary school science teacher, I’m currently employed part time as an events and experiences guide at the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. 

Eric Taylor

Eric Taylor

I moved with my family to Diss from Manchester in 1983. Since retiring in 2013, I  followed my interests in how the town was changing particularly with regard to new development and infrastructure. Initially, this was with the local resident’s association but for the last two and a half years with the Town Council where I chair the Planning Committee.


I joined the steering group two years ago because of my passion to see Diss grow in a structured way with the right amount of development in the right place. I also wanted to influence the need for better infrastructure to cater for the growth in Diss.

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Simon Olander

I’ve lived in Diss all my life, and work for Royal Mail delivering to Diss and neighbouring villages. I joined Diss Town Council as a Councillor in 2004 as I wanted to shape the place where I live. Through my council role I was and am able to endeavour to make our town a better place to live. Over time Diss has changed particularly with regard to new development and infrastructure. In my time on the Town Council I have been Chair of the Planning & Highways Committee, now the Infrastructure Committee. I have sat on various committees/groups for different projects in the town. My proudest moment however was being elected first Deputy in 2006 but then Town Mayor a year later, which I was for two years and the youngest Mayor at 36 years old in Diss’s history. In 2019 I was elected Council Leader. I have been passionate about Diss and the surrounding villages for some time and decided to join the Diss and District Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group in 2018.

My aim is for Diss and the villages to grow in a reasonable manner and receive good quality development in the right places. Only by the parishes working together I believe we can achieve this. 

Burston and Shimpling Parish Council


Alison Wakeham

I moved to Norfolk in 1988 and enjoy living in such a rural area. I joined the Neighbourhood Plan so as to influence the way the area develops, for people and wildlife.

Roydon Parish Council

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Paul Curson

I moved to Roydon in 1980. I worked as a veterinary surgeon in Diss for 26 years before retirement.

Joining Roydon Parish council in 2007, I have been Chairman for the past six years. I joined the Steering group of the DDNP at its inception with a view to contributing to a project which should direct the future of the seven parishes, as local people wish, rather than others who may have less knowledge of the area and its needs.

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Jane Jennifer

I have lived in Roydon for six years and joined the steering group in May 2019 when I became a parish councillor. The position of second parish representative on the steering group was vacant and I thought it a good opportunity to find out more about the Neighbourhood Plan and to see if I could aid communication back and forth between Roydon residents and the steering group.

Trevor Ault
Trevor Ault

I moved to Ipswich in 1974 and worked there for 33 years, in which time I often visited Diss and other parts of the Waveney Valley. I moved to Roydon in 2014 and developed a great interest in its geography and history. After becoming a parish councillor I joined the steering group as reserve to the Roydon reps, hoping I could support them in their work.

Scole Parish Council


Dola Ward

I have lived in Scole Parish since 2017. I am a retired primary school teacher, most recently heading up a service for children with literacy difficulties.

I joined the steering group in 2019 to represent the people of Scole and to support the chair of the Parish Council in developing a workable neighbourhood plan.

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Graham Moore

I’ve lived in Scole Parish since 2004 and have been Chairman of Scole Parish Council for some 11 years. I am now fully retired after 38 years of running my own international telecommunications consultancy and have never been so busy!


I was one of the original members of the DDNP Steering Group and have always believed that as a group of 7 Parishes we would have a better chance of creating a plan that would truly represent the aspirations of our community.

Mid- Suffolk Parish representatives

Brome and Oakley

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Roger Broughton

I moved to Oakley three and a half years ago from Hitchin in Hertfordshire.  I live here with my wife.  We have two grown-up girls, both living and working in Hertfordshire. 

I retired 18 months ago after 33 working in international telecommunications; the last 12 years of which were running my own consulting and contracting business.  I have a BSc in Geology and an MSc in Mineral Chemistry. 


Ursula Hatton 

I'm Chair of Brome and Oakley Parish Council, and have lived in this area most of my life. I am a Director on the board of Eyes Open CIC Ltd which is a local arts centre company, and I also work part-time at a retailer, a Reiki teacher and a patisserie cook for private clients. 


I moved back to Suffolk in 2000 after working for 15 years in the City Of London within the stockbroking and banking sectors.


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Bec Dingle



Steve Leigh

I've lived in the village for five years. My background is in water supply management, land drainage & development planning having run own business for 20 years. Previously at Anglian Water as engineer and management of Developer Services Team. After appointment following a parish meeting, I joined D+DNP to offer whatever knowledge I have to the community at large.


Roger Greenacre 

I'm a retired businessman, having owned a group of printing and packaging companies in the latter stages of my career. I have a post graduate degree in chemical engineering, working  initially in the oil and chemical industries holding both executive  and non-executive positions in a number of companies. In retirement I spend my time as chairman of Diss Golf Club and chairman of Stuston Parish Meeting.


I lived in the village for many years, but have recently re-located to Redgrave, and as a member of the Parochial Church Council managed a £250,000 restoration project at All Saints Church in Stuston funded largely from a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Project Support and Consultancy

Neighbourhood Plans involve significant amounts of work, and can take several years from start to finish. The finish line is when the plan is made, which is when it is voted for at a community referendum.  The Government offers funding to complete these projects, and steering groups can apply for funds to pay for professional support.  South Norfolk Council has also contributed funds to the D&DNP development.


We have appointed Mark Thompson and Louise Cornell from Collective Community Planning who bring a wealth of experience and practical knowledge to the team.

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Louise Cornell

Planning Consultant, Collective Community Planning

Louise is the founder of CCP.  She has over 15 years experience in strategy and policy development including planning, transport planning, corporate services and health and social care services. This includes significant experience working in the public sector as a change manager. 

In recent years Louise has built up significant expertise in supporting communities to develop Neighbourhood Plans, advising on all aspects of policy development.

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Mark Thompson

Planning Consultant, Collective Community Planning

Mark works on projects with Louise. He has a diverse background in behavioural science (BSc), transportation (MSc), planning consultancy, and strategy development. In recent years he has developed invaluable experience in developing Neighbourhood Plans and securing planning permission for challenging residential developments. 

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