The final sign-off for a multi-million pound plan for a state-of-the-art cinema, hotel, restaurants and other leisure facilities is not expected to be given for the next several weeks. Exciting plans for the development at Colchester's Northern Gateway moved a step forward last month when Colchester Council's planning committee agreed with officer's recommendations saying the scheme should go ahead. But because of the scale of the development, and as it is a departure from the authority's Local Plan, the decision had to be referred to the planning casework unit of the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and it may lead to a more in-depth investigation from the Secretary of State. The scheme is on Colchester Council land and will be developed by Turnstone Estates.
A spokesman for the authority confirmed there had been a delay in sealing final approval. He said, "the council has been notified it will not be possible for the DCLG to deal with the referral in the prescribed 21 day period and has directed the council must now await the decision of the Secretary of State in due course. Given Parliament is in recess, it is likely this will take several weeks to resolve.”
Boss of Turnstone Estates Chris Goldsmith said the multiplex cinema - likely to be run by Cineworld - would be an iMax experience which would be the "best in the region by a country mile" and he hoped work would be able to begin in 2018.
Despite plans for Tollgate Village - which also includes a multiplex cinema - being approved by the Secretary of State last week, council leader Paul Smith (Lib Dem) said he believed Northern Gateway would still thrive because it had a more attractive site and would be a "Premier League" attraction.
Source: Daily Gazettte