COLCHESTER Council’s Conservative-led administration says it has dropped “bombshell” plans for more than 100 homes on a set of tennis courts ... but the former leader of the council says they had already been put on hold.

It has been revealed plans were discussed by the authority’s former progressive alliance to create an estate of about 130 home at the Eudo Road sports grounds, in Shrub End.

Ward councillor Pauline Hazell and election candidate Angela Linghorn-Baker say they had been calling for answers for more than a year over the site’s future, but to no avail.

Pauline said: “After taking charge, we found out last month the plans were actually very well advanced, and were in fact for 130-160 houses covering the whole site.

“Every single tennis court, the clubhouse, parking areas and a substantial part of the open green space was to be built on with a huge development.

“It should be noted these courts are only unused because that’s what the previous administration decided. They restricted access to these courts and stopped taking public bookings meaning money could not be taken, no investment was made and then they left them to deteriorate.

“These plans would mean a big loss of valuable open space and recreation land in Shrub End, which was not going to be replaced locally.”

Colchester Council leader Paul Dundas said he immediately demanded all work stop on the project, which could have started within 18 months, while the community was consulted.

He added: “We need to find out what local people want.

“I know Pauline and Angela will be out there talking to and surveying residents and we won’t be doing anything until we get feedback.”

Read more:

The proposals consisted of about 130 houses and a 2,000 sq ft medical centre and a GP practice.

Colchester MP Will Quince released a video on social media attacking the former administration for supposedly hiding the plans.

But the council’s former Lib Dem leader Mark Cory said homes plans for the site had been put on hold in favour of other options.

He said: “The council’s commercial company came up with a first iteration of the scheme and we rejected it. We started looking at other plans for the site, such as having a health centre there, as well as maintaining some of the tennis courts

“Essentially we then put it on hold as we explored other sites in the borough, such as Vineyard Gate and the Britannia car parks.

“If plans had been taken any further, we would have spoken to the ward councillors and residents. No one has seen these plans because we rejected them.

“I am disappointed the MP is playing politics once again with this issue. The Conservatives are playing politics by not explaining the whole truth.”