COLCHESTER United has won permission to extend the hours of use at its training ground.

The decision safeguards the U’s academy and about 40 jobs.

Council’s planning committee approved the extra hours after a two-hour meeting attended by more than 200 residents at Colchester Town Hall on Thursday night. 

Robbie Cowling, U's chairman, said: "This is great news for Colchester United.

"It saves dozens of jobs at the club and secures the club's youth development programme.

"I fear if it had not gone for us, it would have forced us to fail our academy audit, but I am happy for the youth staff and this gives us some sort of confidence."

But Terry Shuttleworth, a spokesman for residents objecting to the application, described the decision as a kick in the teeth for the people of Tiptree.

He said: "The councillors have capitulated to Colchester United in the same way their officers have in the past.

"This must be one of the weakest councils in Britain.

"It seems that where football is involved, no one cares about the lives and wellbeing or ordinary people."


The club had argued the extra hours are needed in order to gain category two Premier League youth academy status, which would put the club on a par with some of the top clubs in England.