Government Minister gives go ahead to Tollgate Village!

On August 4 it was announced that Secretary of State Sajid Javid had granted Tollgate Partnership Limited’s appeal against Colchester Borough Council’s repeated refusal to grant planning permission for Tollgate Village.

Directors Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts, welcomed the long-awaited news about the popular project: “We are delighted and relieved that, after many years of hard work, we can bring Tollgate Village to Colchester.”

“This is a good day for our town and we want to thank the huge number of people who have supported us; it means the world.”

“We hope the next phase of the planning process will proceed quickly and efficiently in order for us to deliver Tollgate Village.”

Just 24 hours after the Secretary of State’s announcement, Jayne and Daniel met on site with The Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, whose Witham constituency includes Stanway, to thank her for supporting Tollgate Village.

They said: “Priti’s involvement hasn’t made her popular within Colchester Borough Council. She speaks her mind, which is refreshing, and gets behind many local issues that affect her local constituency.  She has been a staunch supporter all along of Tollgate Village.”

“We really appreciate Priti’s support, she’s been fabulous throughout. She’s been doing exactly what a local MP should be doing.”

Daniel and Jayne said Tollgate Village was their father’s legacy. Danny Watts Snr, who started developing Tollgate Retail Park 37 years ago, died in 2013.

They added: “We are continuing his vision and that’s what this has all been about. People say business isn’t personal, but for us it is. We are a family business, we are a local family and we are continuing something that our father started all those years ago. Tollgate Village is a testament to his legacy.”

Priti Patel MP said: “This is fantastic news for Stanway and this part of Essex. Hundreds of new jobs are now set to be created and we will get to benefit from new facilities and investment in Stanway. I have supported the Tollgate Partnership throughout this process and congratulate them on securing planning permission. They have faced a protracted and difficult process by Colchester Borough Council who have delayed this scheme and the economic benefits it will bring.”

Stanway’s County Councillor Kevin Bentley said: “I am thrilled and delighted by this decision. I have always maintained that Tollgate Village would be a tremendous boost to our economy. With our Borough growing, we need developments that gives our residents the right facilities in the right places and Tollgate Village provides this.”

Borough Councillor Jackie MacLean said: “I have been supportive of the Tollgate Village proposals and this decision is good news for Stanway. This is a major investment to the local economy and community.”

Tollgate Partnership Limited helps young engineers

Engineering and manufacturing students at Colchester Institute are benefitting from a donation of custom-made gyrocopters worth thousands of pounds thanks to the family of a Colchester businessman.

The Watts family have handed over the five gyrocopters, equipment and raw materials from the workshop of their father Danny who died aged 74. Passionate amateur engineer Danny built the gyrocopters from scratch, making most of the parts himself.

Shane Steward, Acting Area Head of Engineering and Manufacturing at Colchester Institute, said his students were delighted to be working on the machines: “This is a unique gift which gives them invaluable hands-on experience. The students can practice reverse engineering on the gyrocopters, modify components and find practical solutions to problems.”

“I am very impressed by what Danny created; he had clearly mastered every discipline, which is a rarity. I couldn’t do it.”

At the end of last term one of the gyrocopters was on display in the foyer of Colchester Institute where students were encouraged to sit in the pilot’s seat and take novel selfies. There are plans to strip two of the machines in the coming months to create buggies for a charity race in Colchester during 2017.

Two of Danny’s children, Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts, are Directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited, a company he founded in Stanway 36 years ago. They visited Colchester Institute with their Mother, Carole Watts to see how the equipment was benefitting students. Jayne said: “Dad was a former police officer turned developer with a life-long passion for creating and inventing things; he built his own house and was an enthusiastic amateur engineer as well as being a keen aviator. He loved helping young people, so it made sense to donate the contents of his workshop, his gyrocopters, materials and equipment, to Colchester Institute to inspire the next generation of engineers. He would have been thrilled at how they are being used.”

“Having met the team at Colchester Institute, it is clear they share Dad’s passion for building things so Tollgate Partnership Limited has committed to continuing to work closely with them.”

Tollgate Partnership Limited is still a family-run company. It plans to invest a further £70m in Colchester by creating Tollgate Village, a retail and leisure development at Stanway.

Daniel Watts' Address to Planning Committee

Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your time again to consider our application this evening. My name is Daniel Watts, Director of Tollgate Partnership Ltd.

I don’t envy the position of the members of the planning committee. And I understand why members can be wary of going against officer advice.

But the unavoidable backdrop to this meeting is that the advice you were given on the Stane Park application was wrong and resulted in the council fighting – and losing – an expensive appeal to the tune of nearly £100,000.

And in January the council will be at another appeal, for the proposals in front of you. Tonight, therefore, presents members with an opportunity to take back control of the process; to approve this significant investment in Colchester, here tonight, on your terms and in partnership with us.

And that’s how it should be done. Not after another expensive appeal process in the hands of a government inspector.

And there are very strong reasons for doing so.

  • There is strong support for seeing this delivered – from thousands of residents across the borough who have signed petitions in favour of Tollgate Village
  • It will create a thousand new jobs – and provide nearly 17 million pounds annual boost to the local economy, as well as one of Colchester’s biggest infrastructure investment from a single development.
  • It will keep spending here in Colchester rather than losing it to Braintree’s expanding Freeport or Chelmsford’s new Bond Street Development – and benefit our town centre by drawing more visitors into the borough.

However, we are all constantly being told that Tollgate Village will have a detrimental effect on the Town Centre and the delivery of the Council’s Vineyard Gate development. It might interest the Members to know that Jayne and I met with the highest members of the Council to discuss Tollgate Partnership’s involvement to help deliver the scheme and to expand our existing town centre commercial and retail investments.

Our town has so much to offer, yet senior officers of this Council simply refuse to believe it. There are potentially 4 Connecting Nodes on offer in Colchester: A leisure hub to the North, a shopping district to the West, Essex University to the South- East and Colchester’s rich heritage, tourism, business, leisure and retail at the heart of it all. This is such an amazing opportunity for our Borough and one I hope Members seize. We see no reason why these 4 ‘Nodes’ can not work together, which is exactly what should happen. These areas together will enhance our town – development, investment and job creation in every part of our Borough is in your hands.

Thank You

Please show your support by signing the petition and say “Yes” to Tollgate Village

Tollgate Village would bring big roads boost

The popular Tollgate Village retail and leisure scheme would bring a major package of road improvements for Colchester, it has been revealed.

Tollgate Partnership Limited, the Stanway company behand the multi-million pound project, have pledged to provide what they believe is the biggest infrastructure package for the town to result from a single development.

The package of improvements would include widening some junctions around Tollgate, Stanway, adding additional crossing points along Tollgate West and widening parts of Tollgate West and Tollgate Road. Crucially, other measures would be aimed at alleviating pressure to the A12 roundabout to help eliminate queuing on the carriageway. Further details of the investment can be found on the planning pages of Colchester Borough Council’s website.

Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts, Directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited, said: “We have listened during our extensive consultations with local people and we have then taken expert advice to ensure we can make more positive changes to our fast-growing Borough.”

“This major investment in infrastructure would be in addition to the £16.9m, 1,000 jobs, and much-needed facilities Tollgate Village would bring to Colchester.”

“We are aware that many people think the investment in infrastructure should happen before development takes place. We totally agree with this view and think it should be the case for all major developments, whether that is commercial or residential.”

Tollgate Partnership Limited has an excellent record of investing in the Stanway area including funding the Western bypass, Tollgate West and Tollgate Road.

Tollgate Partnership Limited has appealed against Colchester Borough Council’s controversial decision to refuse planning permission for Tollgate Village. The appeal will be heard in January and will then be decided by The Secretary of State. Meanwhile, the Council will get a second chance to win the investment for Colchester when they consider a revised planning application for Tollgate Village later this year.

Danial Watts and Jayne Gee said: “It is not too late for people to have their say on the Tollgate Village application via a link on and it is essential even those who have commented before register their thoughts again. Perhaps this time the councillors will listen to the overwhelming support for this project.”

Anyone wishing to know more about the appeal, can contact Daniel and Jayne at Updates are also available on the Tollgate Village Facebook page and Twitter account @TollgateV .

Tollgate Village Public Inquiry Date Set for 2017

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 website or CBC’s website and anyone wishing to know more about the Appeal, can contact Daniel and Jayne at

Tollgate Village Application - Have Your Say

The resubmission of the Tollgate Village proposals has finally been registered with Colchester Borough Council under application number 160868.  The application is very similar to the original application submitted in February 2015, but has been tweaked in light of previous discussions between the applicant, Highways and Essex County Council and also following the Planning Committee’s decision to refuse the original scheme.

“The validation took slightly longer than anticipated and we’re unsure of the reason but we’re pleased it has finally been registered.” said Director Daniel Watts.  “The application has the same fundamental principles as the previous application and we believe that it accords with both Local and National Policies”

There were four reasons for refusal of the original application –

Loss of Employment Land
Impact on Investment & Retail Hierarchy
Sustainable Development

These have all been refuted by Directors Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts.  “Against the backdrop of compliance with the Development Plan, National Guidance and other material considerations, we feel that, in the absence of harm and considering the numerous tangible benefits arising from the proposal, Planning Permission should be granted.  This application gives the Council another chance to consider the merits of the development at local level rather than being placed in the hands of a government inspector.”

Comments can be made directly to the council via its website by clicking on the ‘Tollgate Village Application’ link below and then clicking the “Comment On Application” box.

Tollgate Village Application


Tollgate Village application resubmitted

The directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited have resubmitted their planning application for Tollgate Village a few weeks after appealing Colchester Borough Council’s decision to refuse permission.

After more than 2,500 people signed a petition, started by @Colchesterviews and recently presented to the Local Plan Committee, directors Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts decided public opinion could not be ignored.

Commenting on their surprise move to resubmit, the directors said: “We feel this an opportunity for the Planning Committee and Officers to rethink their decision and listen to what the people of Colchester want. We are also giving the Council a second chance to be responsible for a massive boost to the Borough’s economy, create 1,000 jobs and to make this decision locally rather than it being determined by a Government Inspector in a lengthy and costly appeal process.”

The resubmitted application is fundamentally the same as the original but includes a more robust highways report which details improvements to the local infrastructure including the A12 junction.

“With the local elections looming, we hope that the public will vote people onto the Council who are going to listen to them. We expect this application to be heard by a new committee after the local elections.”

“We have decided to resubmit in the light of the overwhelming support from the people of Colchester. Had Members been aware of all of this support they might have made a different decision.”

Tollgate Partnership Limited will keep people informed of how to comment on the application once it has been given an application number.

Tollgate Village to go to planning inquiry

THE Directors of Tollgate Partnership Limited have lodged an appeal against Colchester Borough Council’s decision to refuse planning permission for Tollgate Village.

Jayne Gee and Daniel Watts, Directors, said: “Given the overwhelming public support for Tollgate Village from across Colchester, we are obviously extremely disappointed that it has to come to this and feel we owe it to our community and our supporters to put in an appeal to try to provide much needed facilities in Colchester.”

“We had invested four years in talks with Colchester Council in order to develop and refine the planning application prior to it being submitted. Despite this, the Council’s Officer then recommended refusal, but his recommendation was rejected by the councillors at the pre-Christmas committee. What followed was a bizarre set of circumstances that meant several key supportive councillors, including the Chairman and Deputy Chair were not able to cast their votes at the next planning committee. We had requested the application be delayed until the original members of the December committee were present, but CBC were uncooperative and denied this request. Our application was therefore brought before the planning committee in February and, conveniently for the Officers, was missing those key supportive councillors and the application was refused.

“Since then, people have been contacting us and asking what our plan B is. Because of the long running talks with the Council, we never discussed an alternative scheme, so plan B now is to appeal the decision and have the case heard at a public inquiry.

“We have been extremely heartened by the widespread and sustained public support for Tollgate Village and the complete outrage which followed the application’s refusal. It was only after @Colchesterviews started a petition on Twitter, which attracted thousands of supporters, that the Council agreed Tollgate Village could be debated at the Local Plan Committee on April 4. In reality, it is unlikely this debate will make any difference and the refusal decision cannot be overturned; this seems more a political tactic by CBC ahead of the local elections in May than anything else. However, we will continue to fight to give the residents of Colchester and Stanway what they want; choice, the creation of 1,000 jobs and a £65m investment into our Borough.

Committee Refuse Tollgate Village development

This is a sad day for Colchester. The members of tonight’s committee have decided that the people of Colchester are not worth listening to. Instead they have stuck by the corporates who are only interested in increasing their portfolios. One of these out-of-Colchester companies has just sold its investment in the town centre, Lion Walk Shopping Centre, for a sizeable profit; proving Colchester Council’s predictions of a lack of confidence caused by the application, completely wrong. However, we are delighted that Colchester town centre is thriving.

We would like to thank those visionary councillors who did support Tollgate Village and who clearly have the Borough’s future in mind. We also thank those members of the public who have given such overwhelming support to this project.

We feel extremely disappointed for the people of our town who have shown tremendous support in our vision. We feel that the town is now worse off and will face even fiercer competition from neighbouring towns which seem to always be several steps ahead of us.

By refusing this planning application to build Tollgate Village to complement the town centre, Colchester will now continue to lose out to our neighbours, Chelmsford, Ipswich and Braintree. The Planning Committee have ultimately rejected £16.9million GVA coming into the Borough, along with the prospect of 1,000 jobs.

It is not surprising that the councillors have voted in this way, given the circumstances in which the committee has been engineered and swayed by the Officers and the fierce lobbying from CBC itself and the large corporate organisations that own the majority of our town centre; both have played a dangerous game in the setting back the future growth of our town.

The planning councillors have been fed misleading information without any evidence and they have accepted it. We hope that when it comes to re-election in their respective wards that the public remember which members listened to them and supported what the public wanted, and who didn’t.

Moving forward, we will be considering our next steps very carefully and the decision to appeal, go back to the drawing board or simply stick with the status quo has yet to be decided. We will also be watching closely at how CBC consider the application for Northern Gateway on its own land, the Borough’s number one employment site, that currently can not deliver the proposals (such as a cinema) that have been suggested .  We are sure they will be as impartial as they have been with the Tollgate Village application.

There is still time to have your say on Tollgate Village

After years of planning and consultation by Tollgate Partnership Limited, Colchester councillors are just days away from deciding if Tollgate Village should get the green light.

The Planning Committee of Colchester Borough Council will consider an outline planning application on Thursday, December 17 at a meeting in the Moot Hall, Colchester Town Hall, starting at 6pm (access from 5pm). The application, by local family business Tollgate Partnership Limited, proposes a major enhancement to the retail and leisure offer within Tollgate, Stanway.

Tollgate Village will deliver a wide range of new shopping, eating and leisure facilities at the heart of the Stanway Growth Area, create 1,000 jobs and benefit the Borough by £16.9m. The proposals for Tollgate Village include substantial highways improvements and are supported by both Highways England and Essex County Council.

Daniel Watts and Jayne Gee, Directors of the Stanway-based Tollgate Partnership Limited, said: “We have been encouraged by the support we have received for Tollgate Village. The application for outline planning permission was only submitted after years of consultation with Colchester Council, Stanway Parish Council and Essex County Council. The plans also received overwhelming support from all those who attended the public exhibition last year and we sincerely hope the councillors listen to the people.”

A large number of Colchester residents have already expressed their support for the scheme on Colchester Council’s website, but more supporters are needed to guarantee this exciting project goes ahead. It is not too late to have your say, simply go to the Council’s website and search for planning application reference: 150239.

An independent retail report commissioned by Colchester Borough Council concluded that Tollgate Village would not have significant adverse impact on Colchester Town Centre. Tollgate Partnership Limited has also agreed to accept a number of restrictions on retail floor space to avoid direct competition with the Town Centre.

Full details of the application and the overwhelmingly positive feedback from the public exhibition can be found on this website.

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