Diss & Harleston

How do you rejuvenate a Norfolk town?

According to the stats Norfolk is the fastest growing area for business in the UK. Yet some of the towns in Norfolk are still struggling to attract visitors and local alike. Well, maybe the other Norfolk market towns should look at Diss and Harleston, both of which are working hard to stay in the game.


Let’s start with Harleston. The town has not sat back and waited for the government to dish out money, they have got off their backsides and done some really great stuff, there is loads going on for both leisure and business. On the business side they have a business forum that meets once a month www.hdbf.org.uk, Waveney BNI that meets every Thursday morning at J D Youngs www.facebook.com/BNIWaveneyValley, an information centre with a business listing website www.harleston-norfolk.org.uk/businesses, a big industrial estate, a thriving high street and best of all, a group of locals, called Harlestons Future who make most of the business/leisure events in Harleston happen www.facebook.com/HarlestonsFuture and www.visitharleston.org.uk .

On the leisure side of things, there is a leisure centre and squash club, an outdoor gym, a running club, an antiques market once a year, a town market every week, Harleston and Waveney Festival is the next event in the calendar www.visitharleston.org.uk/hwfestival. There is a Japanese Restaurant, an Indian Restaurant, loads of fast food places, nice places to have a coffee like The Apiary Cake and Coffee House www.apiaryharleston.com, great pubs J D Youngs being my favourite www.jdyoung.co.uk, there is a nice park and a really good football team sponsored by Cornerstone www.cornerstonelimited.co.uk (well done Adam and Tom) and there are some amazing shops Ulric Computer Services (that goes without saying), Ray Munn Paints and Interiors www.raymunnpaintsandinteriors.co.uk, Denny’s www.dennyandsons.co.uk, Honeycombe antiques www.honeycombeantiques.com and the amazing Cornucopia www.harlestoncornucopia.co.uk… Oh and we have an Adnams Shop… What’s more they organise celebrations and mark them by putting out flags and bunting etc, which makes the town look lovely.


Diss is only just down the road and a bigger town with more shops. They have managed to get some government funding, which is quite an achievement. They have renovated the Corn Hall www.thecornhall.co.uk, created a part of the town called the golden triangle (crafty part of the town), they are making the most of the Mere (a pretty pond/lake in the centre), a BNI business group www.bninorfolk.co.uk/norfolk-bni-mere-of-diss, the market is great, the museum is worth a visit, there are loads of shops, a nice park, a skateboard park, loads of pubs (The Cock Inn is my favourite), the Diss Business Forum is very active and works really hard for the business community www.dbf.org.uk, a golf club www.dissgolf.co.uk, there are 2 big industrial estates and a business centre as well as loads of independent small businesses and shops all over the town. There are some land mark companies like John Does carpets and furniture www.johndoe.co.uk and just down the road Blooms of Bressingham, to name just two. There is loads more to say about Diss but you should check it out for yourself. www.diss.gov.uk

I may be biased, but I think both towns have worked hard to make things work in an ever-changing business environment. To all involved in making these two towns pull in the punters a big well done, it’s not easy, keep up the good work!

Alex Russell.