COLCHESTER Foodbank has secured permission to relocate its headquarters to a former pharmacy building in a move which will help it expand to meet demand.

The charity’s plan to move into an old medical reception store at Abbey Field Medical Centre, in Ypres Road, was rubber stamped by Colchester Council’s planning committee by five votes to four.

Colchester Foodbank raised the deposit for the building via donations, with more than £46,000 contributed by supporters, and the new centre will allow them to better serve the Berechurch, Shrub End and New Town areas.

The application was called in to the committee by ward councillor Pauline Hazel (Con, Shrub End) due to residents’ concerns over traffic and parking.

David Brazington spoke at the meeting on behalf of residents of Churchill Gate.

He said: “We would first like to make it clear we are not unsupportive of foodbanks.

“The plan adds to the existing parking stress, which is already over capacity, it doesn’t allow for efficient road use owing to the unsatisfactory width presenting a high potential for accidents, congestion and danger to pedestrians.”

Colchester’s High Steward Sir Bob Russell, who is a trustee and patron of the foodbank, said there was a growing need for its services.

He said: “The bean counters have concluded having our own premises would be a better financial arrangement than renting as we currently are.

“There are no significant planning reasons for this refusal. I understand the points made on behalf of residents but I would suggest it will not make it worse by one or two cars an hour, four hours a day, visiting with the premises being used for the foodbank.”

The foodbank had secured parking for volunteers at Britannia pub and the Ghurka has also offered to help.

Lyn Barton (Lib Dem, Shrub End) said: “It is difficult to refuse permission when I know families in Shrub End and Berechurch are in desperate need of this facility and its presence here would make things much easier.”

The foodbank will be open to the public 10am to 2pm Monday to Saturday, except Wednesdays when it will be open til 5.45pm.

The move is intially temporary for two-years.