THE cost of a proposed sports complex has risen by more than £9million compared to initial plans, The Gazette can reveal.

Colchester Council is planning a massive development at Northern Gateway which could include cycle tracks, a horse riding course, archery facilities, rugby pitches and much more.

But projected costs of the project have risen from an initial £17million calculated in November to £26.9million.

Council officers said more detailed work on the site had led to the rise in costs, but have already worked out where £2.8million could be saved while still delivering the same scheme.

The numbers, which are supposed to be confidential, were mistakenly revealed in the public section of a cabinet member by Conservative councillor Brian Jarvis after they were printed on the public pages rather than the private ones.

Tory group leader Dennis Willetts accused the council of being too ambitious with the scheme but council leader Paul Smith (Lib Dem) said he was confident the plan would still go ahead.

He said: “I have strong hopes there will be reductions in these costs and additional funding sources will be found.But as they are not on stream now, we are not including them in the calculations.”

Deputy leader Tim Young added: “This is going to be a really exciting, flagship project for Colchester. It will leave a fantastic legacy for the borough.

“It is absolutely right to look at the financial arrangements as they are changing.We have to stick with this.”