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Representations on behalf of CBREGI
Cushman & Wakefield are instructed to make representations to the Colchester Borough 'Preferred Options' Local Plan on behalf of CBREGI as key stakeholders within the town centre. CBREGI hold a number of key interests in the Town Centre, notably Lion Walk, Red Lion Yard and the Odeon Cinema and adjacent restaurant units.
CBREGI broadly welcomes the Preferred Options document. These representations focus on and endorse the Council's proposed spatial strategy and hierarchy including the pre-eminence of Colchester Town Centre.
It is important in our view that the town centre remains the focus of continued investment for retail, leisure and other key town centre uses.
The relevant national planning policy context for these representations is provided by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), with key points summarised below.
* Paragraph 23 requires local planning authorities, through its planning policies, to (inter alia) support the vitality and viability of town centres, define a network and hierarchy of centres, and allocate a range of suitable sites to meet identified needs for retail and other main town centre uses in accordance with the sequential approach;
* Paragraph 24 promotes the 'town centres first' (sequential) approach to the development of retail and other main town centre uses; and
* Paragraph 26 sets out the impact tests, which determine whether there would be likely significant adverse impacts of locating retail and other main town centre uses outside of existing centres.
Policy SG1 (Colchester's Spatial Strategy)
We welcome the acknowledgement that Colchester Town Centre is the most accessible and sustainable location for growth in the Borough. As such, we support the identification of Colchester Town Centre at the top of the Spatial Hierarchy (Table SG1) and as the priority location for growth and development.
Policy SG3 (Economic Growth Provision and Centre Hierarchy)
We support the classification of Colchester Town Centre as a 'Regional Centre' in the Centre Hierarchy and the focus for further main town centre uses.
In order to sustain the Centre Hierarchy and ensure the pre-eminence of Colchester Town Centre, proposals for retail, leisure and other main town centre uses in existing centres should be proportionate to the role and function of that centre in the Centre Hierarchy.
Policy TC1 (Town Centre Policy and Hierarchy)
As outlined above, we support the identification of Colchester Town Centre at the top of the retail hierarchy where new development will be focused to enhance further the Borough's sub-regional role.
The policy sets out a preference for retail (particularly comparison) uses and supporting leisure, culture and food/drink uses in Colchester Town Centre. We support the need to encourage a mix of uses, with non-retail uses playing an increasingly important role in ensuring the vitality and viability of town centres.
Policy TC3 (Town Centre Allocations)
The NPPF requires that identified needs for retail and other main town centre uses are met in full. To that end, we support in principle the proposed Town Centre Allocations for main town centre uses, notably Vineyard Gate which could provide good connectivity with our existing holdings in Lion Walk.