The Tollgate Village planning appeal will be determined over a six day public inquiry to be held at the Colchester Town Hall, but not until January 10 2017, it has been announced. A Government Inspector will conduct the hearing almost two years after the application was submitted and a year after Colchester Borough Council refused the original proposal, following a deferred procedure that originally went against the case officer’s recommendation to refuse.
Daniel Watts and Jayne Gee, Directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited, the Colchester company behind the plans, today reacted to the news of further delays: “Unfortunately CBC was very obstructive when negotiating the Inquiry date. We believe the reason CBC has delayed the date is purely to bolster its argument that the application was brought forward prematurely in advance of the new Local Plan. As the Plan is not at and advanced stage of consultation, ‘Prematurity’ can not legitimately be a reason for refusal. Delaying the Inquiry allows the Local Plan process an extra 6 months to catch up.”
The Directors added: “There still remains a huge amount of support for Tollgate Village and we believe that the benefits will outweigh any suggested reason for refusal. Tollgate Village will bring a much-needed £16.9m income boost to the Borough, create 1,000 new jobs and will form a heart to the growing Tollgate area by building on ‘brownfield’ sites rather than ‘greenfield’ sites.”
“There is no sound evidence that the scheme will ‘destroy’ the town centre or harm any planned investment. In our opinion there is no solid reason why Tollgate Village should not be built. There is room in our growing Borough for both Tollgate Village and Northern Gateway proposals and for Colchester to be an amazing destination for shopping, leisure and culture. Unfortunately, this ‘Rainbow Coalition’ of a Council don’t share the same view and is only interested in developments that will benefit its coffers, rather than doing what a fair council should do: take care of its communities, its environment, its people.”
Residents of Colchester can still comment on the new application by visiting the TollgateVillage.co.uk website or CBC’s website and anyone wishing to know more about the Appeal, can contact Daniel and Jayne at firstname.lastname@example.org