Colchester’s Northern Gateway cinema plan back on track after Secretary of State decision

An artist's impression of the new Northern Gateway scheme. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

An artist's impression of the new Northern Gateway scheme. Picture: CONTRIBUTED - Credit: Archant

A flagship cinema will be built in Colchester after the Secretary of State gave the plans the thumbs up, it has been revealed.

Colchester Borough Council’s Northern Gateway, which also includes an 80-bed hotel, restaurants and leisure facilities, will go ahead as planned following the decision not to call in the proposals, revealed to the authority last week.

The council said it now hoped work could start on the development as soon as possible.

Tim Young, councillor responsible for business and culture, said he was delighted with the decision.

He said: “We are glad it was in our favour.

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“It means Northern Gateway can crack on and it will be of great benefit to the borough.

“It’s now down to the developer to crack on with it and we would hope [work will begin] as soon as possible.”

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Colchester Borough Council’s planning committee initially gave the plans for the IMAX cinema the thumbs up in July.

But the proposals were referred to the Secretary of State by council bosses because they deviated slightly from the local plan.

Bosses asked for him to consider whether he should call in the proposals to look at them in detail.

Witham MP Priti Patel was also forced to deny claims she was trying to scupper the proposals after she forwarded on some of her constituents’ concerns about Northern Gateway to the Secretary of State.

A petition was set up, calling for the development to go ahead and gathered hundreds of names from across Colchester.

The borough council has received a series of bad judgments recently after planning decisions were overruled by the Government.

Last year, Stane Park in Stanway was allowed to go ahead despite initially being turned down.

And in August Tollgate Village, which will also feature a cinema, was given the thumbs up by Sajid Javid after the council too turned it down twice.

Mr Young said: “It’s good to get some good news.

“We had a lot of faith and confidence in the case we put across for Northern Gateway. We were also very grateful to have Colchester MP Will Quince’s support and we are glad the secretary of state has come to this decision.”

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