I am grateful for the continued support of our MP in using his good offices to ask Essex County Council to refrain from lifting the covenant which prohibits the use of our public realm land for purely private commercial development.

The document, put into place when Essex County Council passed over the land to Colchester Council for use as a bus station, states clearly that it can only be used for a statutory function of the council such as housing, retail, parking or leisure.

However, I am not holding my breath that it will prevent this monstrous building from dominating such a large proportion of our tiny town centre with something that will have such a marginal economic value and no social and cultural value whatsoever, but will have the effect of privatising a large chunk of our public land.

Essex, you see, placed that restriction in the first place not for any public spirited reason, but specifically so that it could profit financially from any enhancement of the land value by charging a fee to remove it.

It’s a common practice.

But there is a moral case that elected representatives must take into account the well-stated feelings of the people who will be most affected, and the people of Colchester have made their case clearly that they will not countenance this unsuitable and unsustainable development.

But will this override the Essex County Council’s desire to make a bob or two?

Probably not.

The only ray of light is that Tory-controlled Essex may wish to score points over the Lib/Lab coalition that runs Colchester.

There is another potential difficulty: Colchester Council may have a well-founded fear that it will be sued for millions if it does anything to contradict the ill-judged and disadvantageous commercial contract it has foolishly entered into with Alumno which gives the land away for next to nothing and for so long.

So it cannot now recommend that Essex now refrains from lifting the covenant.

And should Essex County Council tell Alumno in no uncertain terms that it cannot build, Colchester could still be sued for not pointing out this difficulty from the word go and refuse to accept their overtures.

But, hey, Alumno knew of the existence of the covenant well before it put in its application and did it anyway: It took that risk.

In his closing submission at the appeal, the Alumno barrister stated this development was the only game in town, but is it?

We know for a fact there is at least one, possibly two other sets of plans for housing, leisure and retail waiting to be submitted by others and there are well-developed sketches to create a Crystal Palace-like covered marketplace, fast food village and performance area, with ecological area and community garden with a proper tour coach station.

The area has been blighted and ignored for far too long.

With a will, we can make this the envy of East Anglia, encouraging tourism and visitor spending.