Business park gets the go-ahead
A MULTI-MILLION pound business park that it is hoped will create thousands of jobs in an Essex town was given the go-ahead last night. If plans proceed, Stane Park will be a 16-acre mixed-business scheme at Stanway, to the west of Colchester near the A12, aimed at providing companies with start-up space and the ability to expand on the same site.
By Roddy Ashworth
A MULTI-MILLION pound business park that it is hoped will create thousands of jobs in an Essex town was given the go-ahead last night.
If plans proceed, Stane Park will be a 16-acre mixed-business scheme at Stanway, to the west of Colchester near the A12, aimed at providing companies with start-up space and the ability to expand on the same site.
The granting of planning permission for Stane Park- part of which will be subsidised to help fledgling businesses establish themselves - was resisted by Essex University, which already has planning approval for a similar venture on its Wivenhoe campus.
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But addressing last night's Colchester Borough Council planning meeting, officer Vincent Pearce said that as the university's plans were geared towards specialist hi-tech and research-based industries, there was room for another local scheme to cater for different types of business.
Speaking against the scheme, Liberal Democrat Martin Hunt said he had not been “seduced” by a council report that came out in favour of it.
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He said that while he recognised many of its benefits, the approval of the Stane Park plan in its existing location would breach over-arching planning guidelines and that there were other sites available that would not.
He added: “I am extremely worried about the university. My view is that if the university is still worried enough to object, then I should be worried enough to object.”
But Conservative Andrew Ellis said that as the university was a commercial operation it was bound to object to competition. “In their position, I would object,” he said.
“We need to encourage and nurture new businesses and small businesses in Colchester. This is a once-in-a-blue-moon opportunity and we should take it,” he added.
Labour's Steve Ford raised queries about the amount of noise, air and light pollution that could be caused by the site, a concern Mr Pearce said could be officially taken on board and dealt with.
And Conservative Sonia Lewis said: “We are talking about the creation off 3,500 jobs - I have sat here passing endless applications for more houses and flats, and I have always worried about where the people who live in them will work.
“I don't think this will lead to Stane Park being against the university - I see it as an 'either or'. I see the applications as being complementary.”
The committee voted seven to two in favour of the Stane Park plans, with two abstentions.
Because the application goes against some existing planning guidelines, it will need to be referred to the Government Office for the East of England for consideration.
Yesterday Simon Plater, the architect behind the design of Stane Park, said: “We feel it was certainly the right decision, and it was one of the best debates I have seen in the council chamber for a long time.”
He added if all went smoothly with the application's progress, work could begin on the site as soon as early next year.