Statement on Planning Inspector’s decision to overturn council’s Alumno decision

Planning Inspector’s decision backs Alumno's appeal

Date issued: 13 December 2019

Colchester Borough Council is disappointed by the Planning Inspector’s decision today (Friday, 13 December 2019) to overturn the decision of the council’s Planning Committee and back plans by Alumno for a new Cultural Quarter. 

In February, the council’s Planning Committee rejected Alumno’s plans on a range of grounds. However, today, the Planning Inspector has announced that following a two-week public hearing after the developers challenged the decision, he was upholding the appeal. 

The Inspector has imposed several conditions, some of which address the concerns raised by the council’s Planning Committee. These include:

  • the need to submit a scheme to provide inclusive pedestrian access between Priory Street and the site. This may include a ramp or a lift but must comply with the latest published national standards and health and safety measures.
  • a revised scheme needs to be submitted for public realm works to improve Queen Street which reflects concerns about detailed design in this area;
  • a condition survey of the Town Wall and remedial works to address any damage resulting from the demolition or construction;
  • a public art feature strategy and installation of agreed artwork;
  • a scheme of secure cycle parking and the appointment of a travel plan co-ordinator;
  • the disabled parking bay needs to be marked out and available for use, prior to first occupation of Block A or B, and
  • the implemented scheme shall be constructed to achieve a BREEAM ‘Very Good’ rating reflecting the council’s objective to improve the sustainability of new buildings.

 Councillor David King, Portfolio Holder Business and Resources, said: “We gave every support we could to our Planning Committee but have to proceed now as the Inspector has ruled, and welcome the improvements he has recommended.

“While it’s not an ideal situation, we now have to look at the positives of the development. It is a £40 million investment in the Town Centre that will provide a much-needed boost to the local economy, but we do also understand the disappointment that will be felt by those who desired a different result and will seek to work with the developer and others to achieve the best possible outcome in these circumstances.

“The decision also helpfully establishes that the council does have a five-year supply of housing land.”

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