Stadium development closer than ever

PROPOSALS for a huge development in the north of Colchester – including a brand new community sports stadium – are now closer to fruition than ever before, the town's MP claimed yesterday.

By Roddy Ashworth

PROPOSALS for a huge development in the north of Colchester - including a brand new community sports stadium - are now closer to fruition than ever before, the town's MP claimed yesterday.

Liberal Democrat Bob Russell made his comments after leading a delegation of representatives to meet transport minister David Jamieson in Westminster.

And after a "very positive" meeting he said he had never felt more confident that the Severalls and Cuckoo Farm regeneration project would go ahead - paving the way for a new stadium for Colchester United.

"It was an exceptionally good meeting," said Mr Russell. "All the pieces of the jigsaw are there and are falling into place."

Plans for the development of the redundant land have been progressing for years but have moved very slowly because of the project's size and complexity.

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The land itself is owned by two statutory organisations - Colchester Borough Council and the NHS, both of whom are keen to dispose of it for building.

However, no development can go ahead until the construction of a new junction on the A12 is guaranteed by the Highways Authority to provide access to the area.

Mr Russell said that after yesterday's discussion he could see no major obstructions to the development.

"There were representatives of all the key players there - from Colchester Borough Council, Essex County Council, the Health Authority, the Highways Agency and, of course, the minister.

"The Highways Agency have said they can see no problems ahead.

"What has to happen now is that the details of legal agreements need to be sorted out and then the Government will be required to have a look at the process, because there is a slight departure from the borough plan. That is basically a formality.

"But everything is now on the table and we are almost there. I could only be more confident if I had walked out with a signed and sealed agreement."

Yesterday Ken Jones, Colchester Borough Council's cabinet member for regeneration, echoed Mr Russell's enthusiasm.

"I feel very, very positive. It was a really good meeting. There is nothing now in the way of this going forward.

"This will provide for park and ride, which is the spine running through the whole regeneration agenda.

"I am pleased there appear to be no further hurdles ahead of us."

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