Calls for open debate on Colchester’s Northern Gateway cinema plans after ‘Polo’ application bid

Artists' impression of the new Northern Gateway

Artists' impression of the new Northern Gateway - Credit: Archant

A developer has called for an “open” debate on plans for the leisure quarter of Colchester’s proposed Northern Gateway scheme.

Colchester Northern Gateway vision map

Colchester Northern Gateway vision map - Credit: Archant

Stephen Clark, managing director of Churchmanor Estates, has questioned the “Polo mint” application looking at environmental issues with as yet undeveloped parts of the site south of the A12 junction 28.

Colchester Borough Council wants to see a 12-screen IMAX cinema as part of the site, which is not included within outline planning permission.

A change of use bid by Turnstone Colchester, the council’s development partner for the area, has been withdrawn after claims it was unlawful.

Now a scoping assessment has been submitted for the surrounding area – but not including the proposed cinema land.

Mr Clark, whose firm had plans for a =pub and five restaurants in Stane Park, Stanway, turned down, said: “As a private developer we would not stand a chance of getting away with this if there was a plan with no details about the bit in the middle.


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“A lot of people are very concerned about having a cinema out of town.

“Without the openness of a proper detailed planning application it creates the impression the council wants to avoid proper scrutiny of its proposals.”

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A council spokesman said: “The Northern Gateway has outline planning permission. Before anyone can implement this, a further application for the ‘reserved matters’ is required, which we anticipate will be submitted in due course.

“This must be consistent with the existing outline permission.

“Any application in connection with the existing consent for the Northern Gateway will be reported to planning committee and be subject to full public and technical consultations.

“Any development not included in the outline consent will be subject to a full planning application.”

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