Bid to move U's stadium plan forward

SENIOR figures in the push to build a new community stadium in north Colchester will meet concerned residents tonight.Some people living in Mile End fear that if the stadium is built at nearby Cuckoo Farm before a new junction on the A12, traffic in their area will increase.

By Roddy Ashworth

SENIOR figures in the push to build a new community stadium in north Colchester will meet concerned residents tonight.

Some people living in Mile End fear that if the stadium is built at nearby Cuckoo Farm before a new junction on the A12, traffic in their area will increase.

Backers of the stadium - including fans of high-flying Colchester United FC, which is due to relocate there from its current Layer Road base - want to see it built by August 2007.

But it is unlikely that the A12 junction will be built until three years after that date, leaving cars and coaches unable to approach it from the north and having to drive through the town.

Representatives from Colchester United and Colchester Borough Council will be present at tonight's public meeting and will seek to reassure residents that their fears of increased congestion are groundless.

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Although originally outline planning permission for the stadium was only granted on condition the junction was built first, councillors now want to scrap the clause and proceed with it as soon as possible.

A stringent transport plan has been drawn up in an attempt to discourage the majority of fans from using their cars to travel to games.

Colchester United currently plays at an antiquated stadium in Layer Road which can only hold a crowd of 6,000.

The proposed stadium would allow it to expand its capacity to 10,000 - an important move if the club is to gain promotion to the Championship.

But if the building of the stadium is further delayed, the club could lose a £2million grant from the Football Foundation which is essential to funding the project.

Tonight's meeting is scheduled to take place at the drama studio of the Gilberd School.

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