Alumno appeal: Planning Committee advised to discuss possible decision change

Advised it would not be possible to defend the decision to refuse the plans on the grounds of insufficient community consultation

Date issued: 7 August 2019

Colchester Borough Council’s Planning Committee is set to discuss if it should withdraw one of the reasons it refused plans by Alumno for a new Cultural Quarter on the former bus station site, when members meet on 15 August 2019.

The Planning Committee, in February, unanimously rejected plans by Alumno for 336-student rooms, an 87-bed Travelodge hotel, retail units and public open space to be created off Queen Street. The developers have now submitted an appeal against this decision, which is scheduled to start on 16 October.

Following a fresh look at the application, The Pegasus Group – a leading independent consultancy which is representing the council at October’s planning appeal – has advised it would not be possible to defend the decision to refuse the plans on the grounds of insufficient community consultation. This is due to them not being able to identify any breaches of the Development Plan or National Planning Policy Framework

The Pegasus Group, a national planning, urban design and heritage consultancy, has been appointed by the council to represent it at the appeal, as its own planning officers are professionally conflicted after originally recommending Alumno’s application for approval.

Pegasus has now advised the Planning Committee not to contest the reason of lack of consultation as it could damage the consultant’s credibility as a witness, thus undermining the council’s entire case against the appeal. Members of the Planning Committee will make the decision whether to solely defend the committee’s decision on the grounds of poor design and access, at its meeting on 15 August.

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