Colchester’s Tollgate Village and Northern Gateway developments heading for court battle.

Work is due to start on the Northern Gateway this summer. Picture: TURNSTONE ESTATES/CMP ARCHITECTS

Work is due to start on the Northern Gateway this summer. Picture: TURNSTONE ESTATES/CMP ARCHITECTS - Credit: Archant

A new row has blown up between two developers hoping to build major leisure projects on the edge of Colchester.

The boss of the company building the new Northern Gateway leisure development near Colchester United’s ground has accused the promoters of the rival Tollgate Village development in Stanway of seeking a “hypocritical, vindictive and completely unnecessary” judicial review to prevent them starting work on the project.

The director of the Tollgate Partnership, which is building Tollgate Village, have filed a High Court bid to apply for judicial review of Colchester council’s decision to award planning permission for the Northern Gateway development.

The Northern Gateway site is owned by the borough which brought in Turnstone to build a 12-screen cinema for Cineworld along with restaurants and other leisure facilities.

Tollgate Partnership directors Daniel Watts and Jayne Gee claim correct procedures were not followed when the Northern Gateway planning permission was granted.

Tollgate Village has been granted planning permission. Picture: TOLLGATE PARTNERSHIP

Tollgate Village has been granted planning permission. Picture: TOLLGATE PARTNERSHIP - Credit: Archant


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They said: “CBC needs to be held accountable to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which helps to inform its decisions. We believe the council’s decision was based on a flawed application of the framework’s sequential test and therefore the wrong decision was made.

“There is at least one suitable site, Tollgate Village, which has consent for a cinema and the council agrees is ‘available’ under the test. Tollgate Village is part in-centre and part edge-of-centre and is therefore sequentially preferable to Northern Gateway, which is an out-of-town location.”

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The move angered Turnstone chief executive Chris Goldsmith. He said: “We are disappointed but not surprised by this hypocritical, vindictive and completely unnecessary judicial review filed by Tollgate.

“It serves no purpose whatsoever but to cynically delay the delivery of a new cinema, leisure facilities, restaurants and hundreds of jobs for Colchester.”

Borough council leader Paul Smith said he was disappointed, but not surprised that Tollgate was seeking a judicial review: “They had a judicial review on their plans and now this is happening. But I don’t think it will stop the development – and I look forward to the Northern Gateway’s completion.”

A Colchester Borough Council spokesman said: “Very careful consideration was afforded to the national planning policy framework’s sequential test in the planning committee’s consideration of the application and the council is content that it acted entirely appropriately in its determination.”

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