Shipyard revamp gets green light

CONTROVERSIAL plans to redevelop a shipyard and close some public footpaths on its site have been approved by councillors despite more than 350 letters of objection from local people.

By Roddy Ashworth

CONTROVERSIAL plans to redevelop a shipyard and close some public footpaths on its site have been approved by councillors despite more than 350 letters of objection from local people.

Developer Taylor Woodrow has received permission to transform the derelict Cooks Shipyard and gasworks site on the waterfront at Wivenhoe into a mixture of housing, businesses and shops.

The scheme involves the closure and removal of three public footpaths - which has provoked a storm of outrage from a number of local residents.


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Colchester Borough Council, which passed the plans on Thursday, had received over 350 letters of objection, including 47 from local school children, about the footpath closures.

Some footpaths were closed when demolition work was taking place on the site, which angered many residents. They have since been reopened.

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The planning application description included the removal of public footpaths, which combined with the unauthorised closure during the demolition works led to a negative response.

But a report to the council's planning committee said: “In reality only small sections of paths will be closed subject to the appropriate closure orders and there will be greater public access to the area including the river frontage.”

The majority of footpaths on the site are unaffected or will be diverted.

The report added: “In addition to those existing, new footpaths will be created and there will be public access along the edge of the quay adjacent to the river.”

The council only received eight letters protesting to the development itself, which is for the second phase of the Cook's Shipyard redevelopment.

Concerns expressed included potential traffic and parking problems and pressure on facilities in Wivenhoe.

The developer has received permission to build six commercial units, 12 houses, 42 flats, a fisherman's store, a disabled toilet and to restore a building know as the White House.

Yesterday Tom Roberts, mayor of Wivenhoe, said: “I am quite disappointed but not totally surprised that the plans have been approved.

“I think there were some well-founded reasons why they shouldn't have been, but that's the way it goes - the borough is the planning authority so it is their decision.

“The inadequacy of the access down there has always been a problem, and the more houses built there, the more car journeys you are going to get.”

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