'Creeping' retail park development fuels traffic fears

Colchester castle is clearly visible from 2500 feet . AERIAL VIEW COLCHESTER EADT 19 07 03 AERIALS

Concerns have been raised about extra traffic and pollution in Colchester - Credit: Jamie Niblock

Extension of a successful retail park is causing fears that the creeping development could cause worse traffic and pollution for a town.

Stane Retail Park will see a further 2,323 square metres of retail space on the first floor, following approval by Colchester Borough Council.

But councillor Lesley Scott-Boutell told the Planning Committee she had received complaints from residents saying they feared the increased pressure on nearby roads would result in more noise, air and light pollution.

She said: “I have concerns regarding yet another application for extra floor space at this location, as there appears to be an element of creeping development.

“I’m not convinced that the extra floor space granted by a subsequent application and this one would have been granted if applied for along with the original application.”

Speaking on behalf of developer Churchmanor Estates, consultant Martin Robson reminded councillors the Highway Authority had not raised any objections to the plans and that turning part of the Stanway Western Bypass into a dual carriageway and building new traffic signals at the A12 junction had been required by the original planning permission three years ago.

He said: “These works will be completed this month.

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“They provide significant extra traffic capacity for well into the future for the benefit of the whole Stanway area.”

A submission from council leader Paul Dundas said the original application was supported because it brought jobs and investment in road infrastructure, and was likely to be granted under appeal if refused.

Mr Dundas said: “Although the project retains my support, I am concerned about a degree of mission creep in this application.”

He asked the committee to consider thoroughly the issue of extra traffic generated by the development and whether current mitigation measures were enough.

The units set to be extended currently cover an area of 6,309 square metres.

This includes the 4,273 square metres of additional space granted by the council in 2021.

Phase One of Stanes Retail Park has already been completed, with some shops like B&Q and Aldi currently open for business.