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.