CAMPAIGNERS against plans to build a visitor centre in Constable Country say they are ready to fight on after Bunting and Sons vowed to appeal against the decision not to let it build a visitor centre.
Opposition groups welcomed the decision to refuse the family-run business permission to build the Stour Valley Visitor Centre in Horkesley Park but have warned their fight is not over yet.
Will Pavry, chairman of the Stour Valley Action Group, said: “It is fantastic news.
“We always knew the proposals had so many problems and councillors, like us, were concerned about the viability issue.
“They did not accept that they should take the risk on this thing without seeing the business case and I think keeping that confidential was a large mistake on the Buntings’ behalf.”
He added: “We must expect the applicant to appeal and we have to hope an inspector will see the application for what it is - a mish mash of ideas, which is not needed in this location.”
Roger Drury, spokesman for the Dedham Vale Society, added: “Councillors realised this thing should be accessible by public transport.
“That could be done if it was built nearer the town but instead they wanted to stick it in the countryside in the middle of the area of outstanding natural beauty.”
He added: “It will certainly go to appeal but I feel if it is to be successful, Bunting and Sons will have to provide the inspector with what has up until now been kept confidential - the business case.”
Colchester councillors voted ten to four to reject the proposals to build on the 117-acre site because of the effect it would have on the area of outstanding natural beauty.
But Stephen Bunting, senior partner at Bunting and Sons, said the company will not give up until the visitor centre is built.
“We are fully committed to the Horkesley Park scheme and the benefits it will deliver and we shall continue with the proposals until they come to fruition.
“Once the official confirmation of the decision is received, we will start moving forward with the appeal process.”
He added: “An appeal will be expensive for both the council and Bunting and Sons and the councillors’ decision to vote contrary to the recommendation and advice from the planning officers will be at Colchester taxpayers’ expense.
“We are confident of success at appeal.”