THE future of a much-loved beauty spot in Colchester is set to be debated in Parliament as the fight to protect it rages on.

The Middlewick Ranges, which has been earmarked for 1,000 new homes, was put on the market by the Government back in October after years of opposition from campaigners. 

The site’s price tag is yet to be confirmed, though its huge size has led some suggesting the Ministry of Defence is seeking tens of millions of pounds for it.

Colchester MP Will Quince, as well as councillor Dave Harris, previously wrote to Defence Secretary Grant Shapps to express their dismay at the proposed sale of the site.

Gazette: Colchester MP Will QuinceColchester MP Will Quince (Image: UK Parliament)

Now, Mr Quince, in his continued fight against the sale, has secured a Government debate over the future of the site.

Speaking to the Gazette, Mr Quince said: “I have secured a Westminster Hall Debate on Tuesday, December 12, on the future of Middlewick Ranges.

“This will give me an opportunity to raise in Parliament the concerns of my constituents and the significant ecological issues, following the site being released for sale on the open market last month.

“The Minister responsible from the Ministry of Defence will be responding to the points I raise.”

Gazette: Middlewick RangeMiddlewick Range (Image: Newsquest)

Mr Quince also vowed to continue to fight to save the Wick.

He added: “I will keep fighting the sale and intend to do all I can as Colchester's Member of Parliament to ensure the Ministry of Defence is aware of the strength of feeling on the issue.”

Gazette: Middlewick Ranges, in ColchesterMiddlewick Ranges, in Colchester (Image: Newsquest)

The future of Middlewick Ranges has been a fiercely debated issue since its inclusion in the Local Plan six years ago which proposes building 15,970 houses in Colchester by 2033

The inclusion of the huge wildlife site, which is owned by the Ministry of Defence, in the council’s local plan sparked a backlash from residents who argued the beauty spot is an environmental asset to the city.

Despite the efforts of campaigners, 23 councillors voted in favour of adopting the local plan, including Middlewick Ranges, while five councillors voted against its adoption and seven councillors abstained.