Today is a new dawn for Colchester

A NEW era for Colchester and its football club dawns today after planning permission was granted for a 10,000 seat community stadium and 1,500 homes for the north of the town.

A NEW era for Colchester and its football club dawns today after planning permission was granted for a 10,000 seat community stadium and 1,500 homes for the north of the town.

The issue of the Cuckoo Farm development, partly on the 250-acre site of the Severalls Hospital Development and partly on farmland was resolved last nightwhen councillors gave the six element scheme the go-ahead.

The green light has already been cited as a victory for the Division Two club with chief executive Marie Partner claiming it could set them on the road to the Premiership.

After the votes of the borough council's planning committee at the Town Hall last nightshe hugged friends and colleagues.

She said: "I am absolutely delighted - there has been a lot of hard work gone in over the last couple of years. We have a lot to be grateful for in terms of the work done by Colchester Borough Council and the support we have had."

Alongside the new stadium, a development of 1,500 new homes, will also go ahead.

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The design was praised by council leaders in the town as "exciting" and "long overdue".

The changes in the area to the north of the town also include a new school, a park and ride scheme, business developments on a 77-acre site and a new junction to the A12. There will also be a police station and a hotel.

Chairman of the planning committee, Ray Gamble, concluded last night's meeting by saying the scheme was important not just for the football club, but for the future of the town.

Amendments were made to the plans including provisions on the working hours from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday, to minimise disturbance to Colchester residents.

Other amendments concern architectural salvage of items for the Severalls site and a recommendation that people moving into the area should be aware of the changes which are to take place.

Opposition to elements of the design were raised by members of the public and conservation groups, factors which the council said could be taken into account because five of the six parts of the plan were at the outline planning stage.

Adam Wilkinson of Save Britain's Heritage Campaign told the meeting the council should not demolish any of the buildings on the Severalls site until full planning permission had been granted. He said he objected to proposals to demolish large parts of the Edwardian asylum and he claimed the buildings were perfectly convertible into residential units.

Ian Richards of the Save Severalls Group, which has been campaigning for more than two years, said the council should remember the value of the site to Colchester.

He said: "It is a rare example of such a hospital and many of these built in the country, few have survived in the way Severalls has."

Jean Beeson, chairwoman of the Myland Parish Council said residents should be the council's first priority during the decision making process.

She said the vast majority of the Myland residents poled were in favour of an underpass crossing Mill Road because of the need to ensure the safety of young children using the busy routes to and from the school four times each day.

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