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Green light for Northern Gateway leisure complex near Colchester after High Court challenge rejected

PUBLISHED: 22:40 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 22:40 05 June 2018

Artist's impression of how the new sports centre at Northern Gateway in Colchester could look Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

Artist's impression of how the new sports centre at Northern Gateway in Colchester could look Picture: COLCHESTER BOROUGH COUNCIL

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A legal challenge against plans to build a major leisure complex on the edge of Colchester has been thrown out.

Tim Young, Colchester Borough Council portfolio holder for business and culture Picture: TIM YOUNGTim Young, Colchester Borough Council portfolio holder for business and culture Picture: TIM YOUNG

An application by the Tollgate Partnership for a judicial review on the Northern Gateway scheme has been rejected at the High Court.

The Tollgate Partnership, which is creating a retail park and cinema in Stanway, lodged the appeal after the Colchester Borough Council (CBC) planning committee granted Turnstone Estates permission to build on the council-owned site north of the town last year.

The application for a judicial review, which was heard by Mr Justice Holgate, centred on whether or not planning policy – in particular the ‘sequential test’ – had been applied appropriately.

Judge Holgate determined that the council had provided advice to members that was not based on any misinterpretation of planning policy nor in conflict with relevant case law. The judge awarded the council £8,500 costs in defending the action.

The Northern Gateway site north of Colchester Picture: GREGG BROWNThe Northern Gateway site north of Colchester Picture: GREGG BROWN

Tim Young, portfolio holder for business and culture at CBC, said: “This ruling confirms that the council’s advice to the planning committee was sound and appropriate, and was based on the correct interpretation of planning policy and case law.

“I’m delighted the decision to grant planning permission has been demonstrated to have followed correct procedure and was entirely professional.

“We can now look forward to continuing the work with our commercial partners to deliver the Colchester Northern Gateway development, which will bring numerous benefits to the borough, including high-quality leisure facilities and new employment opportunities.”

The Northern Gateway is located near Colchester United’s football ground and the new David Lloyd Leisure Club.

The new leisure complex is set to include an 80-bed hotel, 12 bars and restaurants and a sports arena.

CBC is also planning to build more than 500 new homes nearby.

The Tollgate Partnership was twice refused planning permission by CBC to create Tollgate Village.

The developer was eventually given the go-ahead at appeal by the Secretary of State, and work is getting started on the project this year.

The Tollgate Partnership was approached for comment.

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