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17th April 2014

The Appeal Decision

SVAG is delighted to confirm that the Inspector has decided to dismiss the appeal against the decision of the Colchester Borough Council to refuse permission for the Horkesley Park development and the Secretary of State has upheld the Inspector’s decision. A copy of the decision can be viewed (pdf 1Mb).

It is to be hoped that after many years of opposition this ill-conceived development has finally been laid to rest.


4th December 2013

The Inquiry

We have been advised by the Planning Inspectorate that the inquiry is now closed and the Inspector is preparing his report and recommendation for submission to the Secretary of State for his consideration. They further advise that the Secretary of State will issue his decision on or before 6th May 2014.


13th August 2013

The Inquiry

The Inquiry will take place in Langham Community Centre except for the last two or three days which will take place in Colchester Town Hall. There will also be an extensive site visit. Click to view a copy of the Inspector’s notes of this meeting - this shows that a day and a half has been allocated for third party objectors including SVAG.

The Inquiry is due to start on October 1st and last for up to 12 working days.
It will be held at Langham Community Centre, School Road, Langham CO4 5PA between 1st-11th Ocotber and then if required move to the Moot Hall, Town Hall, High Street, Colchester between 14th-18th October starting at 10am.

A copy of the appelent's and CBC's statement, proofs of evidence and summaries will be available to view on CBC's Horkesley Park Appeal webpage


5th February 2013

Colchester Borough Council has announced that the
Planning Committee meeting to decide the Horkesley Park Application
will be held on 28th February in the

Charter Hall (Colchester Leisure World, Cowdray Avenue, Colchester CO1 1YH)
at 6pm - arrive very early!
(see Action page for details). 

See latest Newsletters for more information

See CBC webpages: Application No 120965 or HP latest news and documents





Buntings announce new Application - 27th April 2012
We have now received an e-mail from Buntings dated April 25th 2012 advising us of their next Application. We will decide how to react when we have seen the scope of the new application. We strongly advise you to visit the presentation so that you can form your own views and make any comments to them that you think appropriate.

The 2009 Planning Application
Buntings announce they will not Appeal - 4th November 2011 (pdf 425Kb)
Buntings have announced that they are not going to appeal the decision of May 26th but are going to submit a new Application in due course. See press coverage on the Press page.

Colchester Council say 'NO' to Horkesley Park - 27th May 2011 (pdf 425Kb)
To everyone who has supported us in this long battle, we must say, well done, and thank you!

17th May 2011 (pdf 306Kb)
Alistair Day, the Principal Planning Officer from Colchester Borough Council, has recommended REFUSAL for the application. You can view his lengthy and extremely detailed report: click here, then choose 'Planning Committee Agenda 26/5/2011'

Follow-up Letters - 21st April 2011 (pdf 286Kb)
As of 21st April, provisional totals of follow-up letters received by CBC and posted on their website were: Support of the Application 17, Objections to the Application 205.

The Story of the Newts - 21st April 2011
(pdf 286Kb)

Last week the ECS and the EADT both ran stories about the newts at Horkesley Park. Here’s the full picture for anyone who wants to read it.
Story of the Newts
Horkesley Park: In Search of Enlightenment - 1st April 2011 (pdf 233Kb)
In the past couple of months CBC have received a number of further documents from Buntings elaborating on their proposals. The documents can be seen on the CBC website. We encourage everyone to view these new materials and form their own view on the merits of what is now said in support of the application.

The date has now been set for the Planning Committee Meeting to decide Horkesley Park - 25th March 2011 (pdf 152Kb)
May 26th - Colchester Town Hall - 6.00pm

Congratulations to Dedham Vale on the receipt of a £1,000,000 heritage lottery grant - 27th March 2010 (pdf 476Kb)
s reported in the EADT: Beauty spot valley gets £1m windfall
What a really intelligent and valuable use for lottery money, to spread it through 62 different projects down the length of the valley where it will be of direct benefit to the landscape, the wildlife and the people who live here!
How very different this is from the Horkesley Park project. The Bunting’s giant development would attempt to centralise ersatz versions of all these activities, for the purpose of money-making rather than for the valley and the community, at a single artificially created site.

SVAG submitted its formal response to the Horkesley Park Proposals to Colchester Borough Council on 20th April 2009 (pdf 441Kb)
SVAG employed its own independent consultants to help in the preparation of this document. Our conclusion is that the Application is defective on so many grounds that it should be withdrawn and abandoned by Bunting and Sons before any more public resources are wasted on its evaluation.
Please read for yourselves the full text of the document. See Horkesley Park Key Issues page.

The SVAG Rally on Easter Monday sparked a surge of letters to the press - 17th April 2009 (pdf 559Kb)
Essex County Standard Letters feature: the great Horkesley Park debate.
SVAG Rally Easter Monday - 13th April 2009 (pdf 537Kb)
"Constable Country speaks for itself", read some of the car stickers, and indeed it did. To SAY NO TO HORKESLEY PARK, the by-now-familiar posters, were added other slogans. The Stour Valley Action Group rally brought together people of all ages and types from the length of the valley; many came with banners, handmade signs, and balloons, putting an element of carnival into the protest.

The National Trust make their objections - 31st March 2009 (pdf 477Kb)
They write, "The National Trust considers that although the visitor numbers have been substantially reduced in this proposal compared to the last one, the application should still be rejected as being completely out of scale and of an inappropriate nature and location. It would also be just as likely to have the potential to irreparably damage the tourist locations within the Dedham Vale which the National Trust and partners have striven so long and hard to cherish."

Legal threat over tourist site 'claims' - 23 March 2009 (pdf 162Kb)
The front page of the East Anglian Daily Times on Monday 16 March reported Mr Stephen Bunting's assertion that SVAG had distributed "misleading information". SVAG replies that their views are based on the reading and analysis of Buntings' own documentation, and are matters of opinion and judgement.
Buntingland petition loses horsepower - 8 March 2009 (pdf 634Kb)
As Buntings realise their petition, which was generated at their Suffolk Punch roadshows during 2007/8 and based on thier previous planning application, is invalid they are sending previous signatories a flyer and prepaid envelope hoping they will give their support to the new application.
Public Support: 7 out ot 10 prefer no Buntingland - 4 March 2009 (pdf 548Kb)
Submission of the new planning application sparked a wave of letters to the Essex County Standard.

Bid for new heritage park is resurrected - 24 February 2009 (pdf 208Kb)
A new Horkesley Park proposal was launched on Thursday 19 February with a great fanfare in the press. Editorial comment in Friday's Essex County Standard asked the crucial question: 'This project, if given permission, will change Great Horkesley and the surrounding villages forever. The question is, for better or worse?'

Doubts Surround Buntings' Claims of Support - 29 June 2007 (pdf )
The story of Buntings' clams of public support sparked a vocal response and a surge of letters to the papers.

Farmers' dream will spoil the countryside - 2 June 2007 (pdf 334Kb)
A concerned local resident, and professional art historian, writes to the East Anglian Daily Times with inside knowledge on the subject of the art ' outstation' which Buntings advertise as one of the major cultural elements of Horkesley Park.

Who Owns Constable's Country? - 18 May 2007 (pdf 298Kb)
Professor Michael Rosenthal of Warwick University delivered a hard hitting lecture in aid of the Stour Valley Action Group to a packed Nayland Village Hall.
He said the word 'heritage' in this day had come to mean something that was fake, dishonest, vacuous, and to do with retail, moneymaking and 'a world that never was'.

Buntingland to be relaunched in May- 6th April 2007 (pdf 197Kb)
Buntings announce that they will be holding an extensive series of promotional events to publicise their venture once again with 'show rounds' at the site and 'roadshows' at other locations around the county.

A Sneak Preview of Hokesley Park - 25th February
(pdf 206Kb)

Could this be the real future of Horkesley Park: Suffolk Punches as the centrepiece of an urban retail complex?

The idea was to bring the notion of 'Horkesley Park' to the masses, so the Bunting travelling circus set up in the car park of Asda in Colchester, just by North Station roundabout.