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Battle lines drawn over 5th set of Horkesley Park plans
THE business which wants to build a tourist attraction on the outskirts of Colchester says the development will be good for the town.
Bunting and Sons has submitted plans to build a visitor centre in Horkesley Park, in Great Horkesley, and to revamp the area around it.
The fresh plans predict 316,250 tourists are expected to come to the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park each year with 150 jobs being generated.
The new plans, the fifth set, are a scaled down version of ones rejected by Colchester Council last year.
Kate Bunting, partner at Bunting and Sons, said: “These are not the same plans.
“We have taken account of everything we should have done. We have even made slight changes to the building in light of the feedback we were given at the consultation.
“We truly believe the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park will be an asset for the community, an amenity for local people and a draw for tourism, providing an outstanding celebration of the English countryside.
“It will create about 150 new jobs on-site, and additional off-site jobs, alongside a raft of other benefits for the local area.
“Far-reaching professional studies and assessments have been undertaken which confirm the Stour Valley Visitor Centre at Horkesley Park will be beneficial across the board, with no significant adverse effects.”
If the application is given the go-ahead before the end of the year, Bunting and Sons believes the 117-acre attraction would be open by spring 2014.
The business has appointed architect Sir Michael Hopkins to redesign the plans, which do not include any new build in the Dedham Vale area of outstanding natural beauty. Other elements, such as an underground building, a lecture theatre and a specialist garden centre, have also gone.
Total floor space has been reduced by 30 per cent, while shop space has been cut by 86 per cent.
Among the additions to the plans are an indoor display ring, where Suffolk punch horses would be on show to visitors, and a field-to-fork production, which traces the journey of food.
The business is staying tight-lipped as to how much the development will cost – or how much it will cost visitors to get into the park.
But financial details have been submitted to Colchester Council in Bunting and Son’s business plan.