CUFC training ground blow

COLCHESTER United's chief executive has spoken of his disappointment after plans for a new training complex in an Essex village were rejected for a second time.

James Hore

COLCHESTER United's chief executive has spoken of his disappointment after plans for a new training complex in an Essex village were rejected for a second time.

The League One club had gone back to the drawing board with proposals for its site at Tiptree after an earlier application was turned down amid concerns it was a “Trojan horse” for a major housing development.

The club was hoping this week to get the green-light for its five pitches, including one for community use, on agricultural land it owns at Grange Road.


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More than 100 people turned out to Colchester Borough Council's planning meeting to see the scheme rejected again despite officers recommendation for approval.

The U's chief executive Steve Bradshaw said the revised plans had addressed all the reasons given for the previous refusal.

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He said: “We are clearly disappointed that, despite officer approval, council members have again taken it upon themselves to veer away from planning guidelines to make what can only be assumed to be a political decision.

“We will now move on to a public inquiry where Colchester United will pursue full recovery of not only legal costs but also the additional costs incurred in terms of advice, resourcing and finding alternative facilities at our own cost during the interim period.”

The previous proposal, which included plans for housing, is due to come to appeal early next year.

The U's manager, Aidy Boothroyd, has spoken of the need for the new training ground, saying “every general needs a bunker”.

“You can work all of your training programmes around one venue and the consistency of having a routine and working in one place it invaluable to players.

“At the moment, we are a bit inconsistent in where we are and if we can progress to that new venue, we will be in great shape.

“There are a lot of clubs out there with great facilities and I would say that this football club is below its undoubted potential until we get our training ground,” he said.

Speaking in the club's match day programme he said the training ground proposals were one of the things that had attracted him to the club.

But Tony Webb, of Tiptree Parish Council, said: “There was insufficient community gain from the plans and the council and the residents are pleased with the rejection.

“I imagine they will go to appeal - they seem pretty determined - but so are the people of Tiptree who don't think the cost to the village is one worth paying.”

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