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Policy WC3: Colchester Zoo
Tarmac Trading Limited wish to support the direction of proposed Policy WC3 which will enable the expansion and growth of Colchester Zoo as an important leisure and recreation tourist destination that makes significant contribution to the economy of the Borough of Colchester and the South-East of England region.
A masterplan to support progressive and phased development should accompany any planning application for development on the land covered by Policy WC3. Development proposals will take into account environmental impacts of the proposed development's including but not exclusive to principle considerations of landscape, ecological, archaeological and transport effects.
Any proposed leisure, recreation and/or tourist development should fully utilise opportunities for the non-sterilisation of mineral "sand and gravel" which has been proven on the land. There is opportunity for progressive mineral extraction to help create an integrated landform which will provide appropriate habitat and environment for the zoo with its long term sustainable development and management of wildlife animal welfare.
A collaborative approach to developing the site should include key stakeholders including Colchester Zoo, Colchester Borough Council, Tarmac Trading and Essex County Council to ensure the non-sterilisation of mineral resource and its sustainable supply within the County of Essex through the continued use of the existing facilities at Stanway Hall to the north of the site.
Additional land to the north as outlined in red on attached plan M13.181.D.012 is subject to existing mineral operations, has been disturbed and is subject to progressive restoration. This land will provide similar masterplan opportunities for tourism, leisure and recreation complimenting the zoo allocation to the south without requiring additional greenfield development.
The policy should grasp the opportunity for innovative restoration of the existing minerals site for the types of benefits set out in Policy S12 of the Essex Minerals Local Plan. The established infrastructure, access and disturbed nature of the site lends itself to redevelopment including social benefits and would complement leisure and rural uses identified in policy DM5 and DM6. Any development at this location would achieve sufficient separation from residential uses as the land is buffered by land designated for open space and leisure as identified in proposed policies DM17 and DM18.
The restoration of the site to uses that are complimentary to the zoo post mineral extraction would allow for environmental, biodiversity and / or local community benefit in accordance with Policy S12 Mineral Site Restoration and After-Use of the adopted Essex Minerals Local Plan.
Policy WC2: Stanway - Five Ways Fruit Farm
With regards to any housing or other development under WC2 - Stanway - Five Ways Fruit Farm, there requires to be policy acknowledgment of existing mineral extraction and the extant planning permission granted for mineral extraction at Five Ways Fruit Farm (permission March 2015 ref ESS/23/14/COL). Any housing scheme proposed should be sympathetic to the mineral scheme and not cause any overlap or conflict of uses, and be designed in accordance with the principles of mineral safeguarding and environmental assessments.